US President denies knowing accusers

(From left) Ms Rachel Crooks, Ms Jessica Leeds and Ms Samantha Holvey first came forward with their claims of harassment by Mr Trump during the presidential campaign last year. They are now calling for a congressional investigation into the president
(From left) Ms Rachel Crooks, Ms Jessica Leeds and Ms Samantha Holvey first came forward with their claims of harassment by Mr Trump during the presidential campaign last year. They are now calling for a congressional investigation into the president's behaviour.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

• Accused of unwanted kissing, groping • Barging into a Miss USA dressing room while he was a part owner of the beauty pageant

WASHINGTON • United States President Donald Trump said he did not know the women who accused him of sexual misconduct, and alleged that their claims were a political attack pushed by Democrats, rejecting renewed calls to look into his behaviour.

His comments come a day after the White House said it had eyewitnesses who would clear him of any suspicion of wrongdoing amid the allegations, which surfaced during the 2016 presidential campaign.

On Monday, three women who had previously accused Mr Trump of misconduct called on the US Congress to investigate the President's behaviour, saying that they were speaking up again because of the current climate.

In recent months, countless women have broken their silence about abuse suffered at the hands of powerful men in the worlds of entertainment, the media, business and politics, in the wake of the bombshell allegations that felled movie mogul Harvey Weinstein.

Mr Trump has denied the allegations and the White House has said the women were lying.

Some 50 female Democratic lawmakers also called for an investigation. More than a dozen women have accused the real estate developer and former reality television star of making unwanted sexual advances against them years before he entered politics.

FABRICATED STORIES

Despite thousands of hours wasted and many millions of dollars spent, the Democrats have been unable to show any collusion with Russia - so now they are moving on to the false accusations and fabricated stories of women who I don't know and/or have never met. FAKE NEWS!

US PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP


SILENT NO MORE

You cannot silence me or the millions of women who have gotten off the sidelines to speak out about the unfitness and shame you have brought to the Oval Office.

DEMOCRATIC SENATOR KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND

"Despite thousands of hours wasted and many millions of dollars spent, the Democrats have been unable to show any collusion with Russia - so now they are moving on to the false accusations and fabricated stories of women who I don't know and/or have never met. FAKE NEWS!" Mr Trump said on Twitter yesterday, citing an ongoing probe into alleged Russian meddling during last year's election and possible collusion by his campaign.

He also attacked Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, who on Monday said Mr Trump should resign due to the allegations, following similar calls by four other male Democratic Senators in recent days.

Ms Gillibrand wrote on Twitter: "You cannot silence me or the millions of women who have gotten off the sidelines to speak out about the unfitness and shame you have brought to the Oval Office."

Later on Monday, Democratic Congresswoman Lois Frankel said she was leading a contingent of women representatives from the Lower Chamber in demanding a probe. A group of 54 women were involved in that effort, CNN reported.

Democratic Senator Ron Wyden backed the call for a congressional investigation - which appeared unlikely to occur, given the Republican control of both houses of Congress.

The White House on Monday said the women's accusations were false and "totally disputed in most cases by eyewitness accounts".

White House spokesman Sarah Sanders later told reporters she could provide a list of the eyewitness accounts.

Representatives for the White House did not respond to a request for comment and a copy of the list yesterday.

Many of Mr Trump's accusers came forward after a tape surfaced one month before the November 2016 election, in which Mr Trump was heard bragging in 2005 about groping and forcibly kissing women.

The 71-year-old later publicly apologised for the remarks but called them private "locker-room talk" and said he had not done the things that he had described.

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 13, 2017, with the headline 'US President denies knowing accusers'. Print Edition | Subscribe