Senate Republican leaders and the Trump administration were scrambling on Tuesday to find a way to prevent Roy Moore from winning Alabama's U.S. Senate race without giving up a critical seat to the Democrats.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he has been in talks for the past several days with President Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, and chief of staff John Kelly about how to handle the matter.
Trump called McConnell from Vietnam on Friday to discuss the situation, McConnell said. Trump is on his way back to Washington from an extended trip to Asia.
"There is no question that there is deep concern here," said McConnell, R-Ky.
The White House and Senate GOP leaders will huddle further over the matter, McConnell said.
"Obviously, this close to the election, it's a very complicated matter," McConnell said. "And once the president and his team get back, we will have further discussions about it."
McConnell and other top Republicans have called on Moore to quit the race, but Moore has refused.
Moore has denied accusations that he improperly pursued teenage girls when he was in his 30's. He also denied reports he sexually assaulted two underage teenagers, including a women who came forward on Monday and accused him of trying to molest her in his car when she was 16 years old.
"Moore should step aside," McConnell said. "The women who did come forward are entirely credible. He’s obviously not fit to be in the United States Senate and we will look at all the options."
McConnell said the GOP is considering a write-in candidacy for another Republican candidate. But a second Republican candidate would likely split the vote and make it easier for Democrat Doug Jones to win.
That would cost the 52-seat Senate Republican majority a critically needed vote.
"Obviously, from a Republican point of view, we would hope to save the seat," McConnell said.
Another possibility is to expel Moore from the Senate once he wins. But Moore would have to win the seat first.