Trump, according to three sources briefed on the discussions, cast doubt on the claims leveled by Moore’s accusers. Who were these women, he asked, and why had they kept quiet for 40 years only to level charges weeks before an election?

Trump’s sentiment — he has also complained privately that the avalanche of charges taking down prominent men is spinning out of control — helps explain the president’s evolving attitude toward Moore over the past three weeks, when he has gone from uncharacteristic silence to a full-throated endorsement of the controversial candidate. The shift has benefited both men, helping the scandal-tarred Moore bounce back from what looked like a probable defeat to become a slight favorite in Tuesday’s special election — and offering the president a chance to claim credit if Moore ekes out a win…

McDaniel herself has privately expressed unhappiness about investing on Moore’s behalf and felt blindsided by Trump’s decision to fully endorse him, said two people familiar with her thinking. But she feels she had little choice. The RNC, she has said, is the president’s de facto political arm.