JUDY WOODRUFF: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump today addressed new allegations of sexual misconduct from multiple accusers, a narrative that is now dominating the campaign.
Our Lisa Desjardins reports.
LISA DESJARDINS: It was Trump the defiant, Trump perhaps at his most direct yet.
DONALD TRUMP (R), Presidential Candidate: These claims are all fabricated. They are pure fiction and they are outright lies. These events never, ever happened.
LISA DESJARDINS: In Palm Beach, Florida, the Republican nominee denied new allegations of sexual misconduct, insisting he is the victim of a smear campaign.
DONALD TRUMP: The Clintons are criminals. Remember that. They’re criminals. These attacks are orchestrated by the Clintons and their media allies.
LISA DESJARDINS: This after three new stories charging sexual misconduct appeared last night. A “People” magazine writer alleged Trump pushed her against a wall and forcibly kissed her in 2005. A South Florida woman told The Palm Beach Post Trump grabbed her from behind in 2003, and two women told The New York Times about incidents from the 1980s to 2005.
One of those women said Trump reached up her skirt on an airplane. The women all said they are speaking now because of this moment in the Sunday’s presidential debate. Trump was asked if he’d ever touched a woman without her consent.
ANDERSON COOPER, Moderator: So, for the record, you’re saying you never did that?
DONALD TRUMP: I have said things that, frankly, you hear these things I said. And I was embarrassed by it. But I have tremendous respect for women.
ANDERSON COOPER: Have you ever done those things?
DONALD TRUMP: And women have respect for me. And I will tell you: No, I have not.
LISA DESJARDINS: In Florida today, Trump insisted he has evidence that his accusers are lying and will release it at — quote — “the appropriate time.”
Meanwhile, he expanded his counterattack list beyond the Clintons.
DONALD TRUMP: They have essentially corrupted the director of the FBI. This is a conspiracy against you, the American people. And we cannot let this happen or continue.
LISA DESJARDINS: In New Hampshire, first lady Michelle Obama delivered an impassioned response to the unprecedented campaign drama.
MICHELLE OBAMA, First Lady: The fact is that, in this election, we have a candidate for president of the United States, who over the course of his lifetime and course of campaigning, has said things about women that are so shocking, so demeaning that I simply will not repeat anything today.
LISA DESJARDINS: Mrs. Obama said Trump represents something frightening.
MICHELLE OBAMA: I can’t believe I’m saying that a candidate for president of the United States has bragged about sexually assaulting women. And I have to tell you that I — I can’t stop thinking about this. It has shaken me to my core in way that I could not have predicted.
LISA DESJARDINS: Hillary Clinton didn’t have public events today, as she traveled to California for fund-raisers. Clinton was in the headlines, though, as WikiLeaks released another 2,000 e-mails purported to be from the account of her campaign chairman, John Podesta.
This latest batch included words said to be from an adviser who wrote that apologies are Clinton’s Achilles’ heel.
With just weeks to go, the presidential race is not a battle over each candidates’ strengths, but more than ever an ugly fight over their weaknesses.
For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m Lisa Desjardins.
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