Trump accusers urge Congress to probe harassment claims

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Three women who have accused President Donald Trump of sexual misconduct came together on Monday to restate their claims and call for a Congressional investigation into his conduct.
(From left) Rachel Crooks, a former receptionist in Trump Tower in 2005, Jessica Leeds and Samantha Holvey, a former Miss North Carolina, exit a news conference for the film 16 Women and Donald Trump, in Manhattan, New York, US on Dec 11, 2017. PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK (AFP) - Three women who claim they were sexually harassed by Donald Trump called on the US Congress Monday (Dec 11) to investigate the president's behaviour and allegations of his misconduct.

The White House has repeatedly rejected the allegations by the three women, who first came forward with claims of harassment during last year's presidential race.

Rachel Crooks, who claims the real estate magnate forcibly kissed her on the mouth after she introduced herself to him at Trump Tower in 2005, urged lawmakers to "put aside their party affiliations and investigate Mr Trump's history of sexual misconduct."

"I want to believe that as Americans we can put aside our political inclinations and admit that some things in fact do transcend politics," she told a forum in New York, where she appeared alongside fellow accusers Jessica Leeds and Samantha Holvey.

Leeds said the accusations that have surfaced in the wake of the allegations against disgraced Hollywood film mogul Harvey Weinstein was evidence that some sexual predators were now being held accountable.

"But we are not holding our president accountable for what he is and who he is," she told the forum.

Crooks voiced hope "that we will hold Mr Trump to the same standard of Harvey Weinstein and the other men who were held accountable for their reprehensible behaviour."

Leeds says she was groped by Trump on a commercial flight, while Holvey alleges Trump behaved inappropriately when she was a contestant in his Miss USA pageant, by coming backstage as she and others were in states of undress.

The White House swiftly dismissed as "false" the claims by the three women, who also appeared on national television NBC earlier Monday to share their stories more than a year after they first came forward.

"These false claims, totally disputed in most cases by eyewitness accounts, were addressed at length during last year's campaign, and the American people voiced their judgment by delivering a decisive victory," a White House spokesperson said.

"The timing and absurdity of these false claims speaks volumes and the publicity tour that has begun only further confirms the political motives behind them."

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