Opinion writer

* Roy Moore is fed up with being persecuted, and now he’s fighting back:

“These allegations are completely false and misleading,” Moore said Friday on the conservative Sean Hannity’s radio show. …

Moore specifically denied the detailed allegations by [Leigh] Corfman, who says Moore undressed her, moved his hand over her bra and guided her hand over his underwear. Moore claimed he does not even know her.

“I don’t know Miss Corfman from anybody,” Moore said, calling the accusations “politically motivated.”

“It never happened, and I don’t even like hearing it because it never happened, and they’re doing this a month away,” Moore said, mentioning the upcoming election and his 40 years of public service.

Moore, asked if he would have dated women in their teens when he was in his 30s, told Hannity, “Not generally, no.” Moore did say he dated “a lot of young ladies” when he returned home from the military in his 30s. …

Moore also said he and his associates are conducting an investigation into the allegations.

“This has waited over 40 years to bring a complaint four weeks out of an election,” Moore said. “It’s obvious to the casual observer something’s up. We’re also doing an investigation and we have some evidence of some collusion here but we’re not ready to put that to public just yet.”

Soon Moore will present proof that the allegations are nothing but a plot against him. Also, he did not “generally” do anything of the sort! — gs

* Michael Scherer and David Weigel report that the Republican establishment in Washington is cutting its ties to Moore:

The Senate Republicans’ fundraising operation on Friday pulled out of a joint committee it had set up with Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore’s campaign, following allegations the former judge initiated a sexual encounter with a 14-year-old girl nearly four decades ago.

Republican divisions are deepening over how to respond to the allegations, with national GOP leaders distancing themselves from Moore and calling for him to drop out of the race while officials in Alabama have largely stood by the candidate.

It’s beginning to look like he might actually lose.

* Julia Ainsley has the latest wrinkle in the Russia investigation:

Investigators for Special Counsel Robert Mueller are questioning witnesses about an alleged September 2016 meeting between Mike Flynn, who later briefly served as President Donald Trump’s national security adviser, and Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, a staunch advocate of policies that would help Russia, two sources with knowledge of the investigation told NBC News.

The meeting allegedly took place in Washington the evening of Sept. 20, while Flynn was working as an adviser to Trump’s presidential campaign. It was arranged by his lobbying firm, the Flynn Intel Group. Also in attendance were Flynn’s business partners, Bijan Kian and Brian McCauley, and Flynn’s son, Michael G. Flynn, who worked closely with his father, the sources said.

Mueller is reviewing emails sent from Flynn Intel Group to Rohrabacher’s congressional staff thanking them for the meeting, according to one of the sources, as part of his probe into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Rohrabacher’s advocacy for Russia is so blatant that even his fellow Republicans have joked that he’s an agent of the Kremlin. So it would be difficult to imagine that Russia wasn’t the topic.

A Decision Desk HQ snap poll of Alabama voters taken after the revelations about Moore finds the race tied.

* Ed Kilgore says that Republicans might be in trouble in Alabama with Roy Moore — so much so that the only possible write-in candidate who could win is Jeff Sessions.

* Daniel Schultz offers a religiously informed rebuttal to the religious defenses some are making of Roy Moore.

* E.J. Dionne catalogues the items of conventional wisdom that the Democrats’ victories on Tuesday swept away.

* Michelle Goldberg argues that Tuesday’s election results represent a synthesis of Hillary Clinton’s and Bernie Sanders’ recommendations for the future success of the Democratic Party.

* Robert Schlesinger explains how we know there’s a Democratic wave coming in 2018, one that’s getting less and less hypothetical.

* Sarah Kendzior lays out multiple factors that pose serious threats to our democracy, and asks whether the possibility of free and fair elections is slipping away from us.

* Paige Winfield Cunningham offers some explanations for why enrollment for ACA plans has surged this year, and notes that the law is very much alive despite the administration’s efforts to sabotage it.

* Steve Benen catches Gary Cohn using the words “welfare reform” to refer to entitlements, and notes that this probably suggests a coming push to slash social spending.

* Jessica Valenti warns that with all these men getting exposed for sexual abuse, there will inevitably be a misogynist backlash.

* At The Week, I argued that Donald Trump is the best thing that ever happened to the Democratic Party.

* And David Wright reports that Roy Moore’s brother says Moore is being persecuted just like Jesus was. Mmkay.