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Women lawmakers seek probe into Trump's sexual misconduct allegations

Last updated on: December 12, 2017 22:37 IST

A group of nearly 60 Democratic Congresswomen have sought a thorough investigation into the sexual misconduct allegations levelled against United States President Donald Trump.

In a letter sent to Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reforms, the 54 women lawmakers who signed it noted that in the time of “Me Too”, women across the US were coming forward with their own harrowing stories of sexual harassment and assault.

“Members of Congress have also come under scrutiny and investigation, with some resigning, for improper sexual conduct,” the letter said.

 

“We cannot ignore the multitude of women who have come forward with accusations against Mr Trump. With that said, the President should be allowed to present evidence in his own defence,” it said.

However, President Trump lashed out at Democrats for targeting him with "false accusations and 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!," Trump tweeted.

Three of Trump's accusers at a news conference on Monday demanded the US Congress investigate their allegations against the US President.

Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand even went to the extent of demanding Trump’s resignation.

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Rachel Crooks, a former Bayrock Group receptionist, alleges that Trump held onto her hands and began kissing her cheeks when she introduced himself to her in 2005. She says that he eventually kissed her on the lips.

Jessica Leeds accused Trump of groping her when she sat next to him on a commercial airline flight in the late 1970s.

Samantha Holvey, former Miss North Carolina 2006, accused Trump of inspecting beauty pageant contestants. She said, "He would step in front of each girl and look you over from head to toe like we were just meat, we were just sexual objects, that we were not people."

“President Trump should resign. But, of course, he won’t hold himself accountable. Therefore, Congress should investigate the multiple sexual harassment and assault allegations against him,” Gillibrand said in a tweet.

“The American people deserve a full inquiry into the truth of these allegations,” said Congresswoman Lois Frankel, head of the Democratic Women’s Working Group.

Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence said regardless of the victim or alleged perpetrator, every voice deserved to be heard and justice demands transparency, accountability and respect of due process.

“A thorough investigation into these accusations of sexual misconduct by President Trump is long overdue,” she said.

“While the President’s behaviour certainly warrants a call for his resignation, the most important thing we in Congress can do right now is a comprehensive investigation,”said Congresswoman Jackie Speier.

“What I find most disturbing is the fact that his victims were dismissed out of hand or, even worse, called liars. These women deserve to have us engage in a serious examination of the allegations and facts, as does the American public,” she said. 

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said the president had addressed the accusations directly and denied all of these allegations.

“This took place long before he was elected to be President. And the people of this country, at a decisive election, supported President Trump, and we feel like these allegations have been answered through that process,” Sanders said.

“As the President said himself, he thinks it’s a good thing that women are coming forward, but he also feels strongly that a mere allegation shouldn’t determine the course,” she said.

US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said on Monday that women who accuse a man of inappropriate sexual behaviour -- including Trump -- "should be heard."

"Women who accuse anyone should be heard," the Indian- American top diplomat said when asked specifically about Trump's accusers.

"They should be heard and they should be dealt with. I think we heard from them prior to the election. I think any woman who has felt violated or felt mistreated in any way, they have every right to speak up," she was quoted as saying by the CNN.

Last year, Trump dismissed the allegations, which came from at least 16 different women, as false.

The allegations of sexual misconduct against Trump have received renewed attention recently after several prominent men in the worlds of politics, entertainment and media have been accused of sexual harassment, assault and rape.

Image: Activists rally during a protest against Donald Trump for his 'treatment of women' in front of Trump Tower. Photograph: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Lalit K Jha
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