Roy Moore Allegations Put Pressure on Texas Senators Cornyn and Cruz: Your Texas Roundup
Plus: The FBI runs into issues unlocking the Sutherland Spring church shooter’s iPhone, the future of the town’s First Baptist Church, and Ezekiel Elliott is suspended—again.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“I’m a UT student! You can’t arrest me!”
—A University of Texas at Austin student after crashing a car into a restaurant near campus early Monday morning, according to KXAN. Police say that the student, who is suspected of drunk driving, became violent after being pulled out of the vehicle, which was sitting in what remained of the restaurant Poke Bowl. They did, in fact, arrest her.
Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz are facing intense pressure after allegations surfaced that Roy Moore, the Republican nominee for Alabama’s upcoming special election for U.S. Senate, tried to date four underage girls while in his thirties, according to the Texas Tribune. After the story broke on Thursday, Cornyn and Cruz—who both endorsed Moore—were met by what the Tribune described as “a crush” of reporters on their way to a routine vote. Although he called the allegations “deeply disturbing,” Cornyn stopped short of withdrawing his endorsement. “I think it’s up to the governor and the folks in Alabama to make that decision as far as what the next step is,” Cornyn told reporters on Thursday. “If it is true,” he continued, “I don’t think this candidacy is sustainable, but we believe in a presumption of innocence until proven guilty, and so I think it’s important for the facts to come out.” Cruz did not talk to the reporters, but later issued a statement: “These are serious and troubling allegations. If they are true, Judge Moore should immediately withdraw. However, we need to know the truth, and Judge Moore has the right to respond to these accusations.” The Tribune notes that Cruz is in a “particularly complicated political situation”: “Prior to the Washington Post report, Brietbart News had its own pre-emptive story that was highly defensive of Moore. Former White House adviser Steve Bannon runs the website. He recently threatened to challenge every GOP senator in their primaries with the exception of Cruz.”
MEANWHILE, IN TEXAS
As investigators piece together the life of the deceased Sutherland Springs church shooter, Devin Kelley, a familiar struggle is surfacing between tech companies and the government. The FBI has possession of Kelley’s phone, but so far it has been unable to crack the device’s password. According to NPR, FBI Special Agent Christopher Combs blamed the industry standard encryption for the agency’s failure to access information inside the phone. “With the advance of the technology and the phones and the encryptions, law enforcement, whether that’s at the state, local, or federal level, is increasingly not able to get into these phones,” Combs said. There was a similar problem in the aftermath of the San Bernardino attack in 2015, when the FBI asked Apple to write software that could override encryption on the shooter’s iPhone. Ultimately, Apple refused, saying that solution would result in a powerful tool that foreign governments could potentially hack. Apple said in a statement that it offered to assist in the immediate aftermath of Sutherland Springs, but that the bureau wasted critical time in not responding. Apple would have advised the FBI to use Kelley’s fingerprints, but that window has now closed.
Pastor Frank Pomeroy, who leads the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, told leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention that it would be too painful to continue using the church where 26 people in his congregation were shot and 20 others wounded, so he plans to demolish the building, according to the San Antonio Express-News. Convention spokesperson Sing Oldham told the paper that Pomeroy hopes that he can turn the the site into a memorial for the victims.
Dallas Cowboys star running back Ezekiel Elliott is suspended. Again. As SB Nation reports, Elliott was allowed to take the field on Sunday after the Second Circuit Court issued a temporary stay on his six-game suspension, which was issued by the league as a result of a year-long investigation into domestic violence allegations from a former girlfriend. On Thursday—four days later—the same court denied him an emergency injunction, which puts his suspension back in place immediately and makes him ineligible to play in Sunday’s game against the Atlanta Falcons. The court ordered an expedited appeals process, with the hearings taking place on December 1. Elliott will miss four games before the hearing. Without a successful appeal, Elliott will be out until the December 24 game against the Seattle Seahawks. As ESPN notes, this is the second time in as many weeks that Elliott has been suspended.
WHAT WE’RE READING
Some links are paywalled or subscription-only.
Houston Astros players, you can now pick up your World Series grills Houston Chronicle
Magnum, P.I. actor and native Texan John Hillerman, 84, died at his Houston home Thursday CNN
Sandra Bullock will play Wendy Davis in a movie about her filibuster Deadline
Sutherland Springs church shooter’s dad speaks out San Antonio Express-News
Texas court files reveal the grip that drug cartels have on Mexican politicians and police The Guardian