Women who accuse Trump of sexual misconduct call for Capitol Hill investigation

Three women who have previously accused Donald Trump of sexual harassment shared their stories Monday on NBC's Megyn Kelly Today and at a separate news conference, calling for a congressional investigation into the numerous allegations the president has faced.

Democratic senators, and Trump's UN ambassador Nikki Haley, say women deserve to be heard

From left to right, Rachel Crooks, a former receptionist in Trump Tower in 2005, Jessica Leeds and Samantha Holvey, a former Miss North Carolina, exit a news conference in Manhattan on Monday for the film 16 Women and Donald Trump, which focuses on women who have publicly accused President Trump of sexual misconduct. (Andrew Kelly/Reuters)

Three women who have previously accused U.S. President Donald Trump of sexual harassment shared their stories Monday on NBC's Megyn Kelly Today.

Jessica Leeds, Samantha Holvey and Rachel Crooks told of alleged harassment by Trump spanning decades.

The women, who first aired their stories before the November 2016 election, also held a news conference later Monday to call for a congressional investigation into Trump's alleged behaviour. They cited the recent revelations of sexual misconduct by prominent men in business, media, and politics, for their decision to speak out publicly against Trump once again.

In recent days, congressmen John Conyers and Trent Franks, as well as Al Franken, have resigned as a result of reports of sexual misconduct and inappropriate behaviour. The House of Representatives' ethics committee has also opened an investigation into Texas Republican Representative Blake Farenthold for allegations he sexually harassed a former staff aide and retaliated against her for complaining of discrimination.

"The environment's different," Holvey said. "Let's try again."

The White House has called the claims false and "totally disputed in most cases." It said "the timing and absurdity of these false claims speak volumes."

Crooks, a former Trump Tower receptionist who accuses him of forcibly kissing her in a 2005 incident, called the White House statement "laughable."

Haley says women should be heard

When asked again about the accusations Monday, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders repeated the claim she first made last month, that U.S. voters had already decided the merits of the accusations by electing Trump. Trump was a decisive winner through the electoral college, but lost the popular vote by nearly three million votes.

"The president has addressed all these allegations directly and denied these allegations," said Huckabee Sanders.

Huckabee Sanders also said witnesses contradicted some of the accounts of sexual misconduct, without identifying those witnesses or which accusers she was referring to.

While the White House continued to push back on the allegations, Trump's ambassador to the United Nations said Sunday that women who accuse someone of sexual misconduct deserve to be heard, even if the accusations involve the president.

"I know that he was elected, but women should always feel comfortable coming forward. And we should all be willing to listen to them," Nikki Haley said on CBS's Face the Nation.

The news conference with the trio of women came in conjunction with the documentary 16 Women and Donald Trump, reflecting the number who came forward, most of them after a report emerged of Trump bragging about sexually assaulting women in a 2005 Access Hollywood appearance.

Holvey described the pain the women felt after Trump's election victory. "We are private citizens and for us to put ourselves out there, to try to show America who this man is, and especially how he views women, for them to say, 'Meh, we don't care,' it hurt."

In addition to denying the accusations he's faced, Trump has in recent days actively campaigned for Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore despite allegations Moore preyed on young teen girls while an adult decades earlier.

The contest between Moore and Democrat Doug Jones will be decided by voters on Tuesday.

New York Sen. Kristen Gillibrand, who led the interparty push for Franken to step down, called on Trump to resign on Monday, as did her Oregon colleague Ron Wyden.

U.S. Senator Kristen Gillibrand, from New York, has called on Donald Trump to resign. (Aaron P. Bernstein/Reuters)

Gillibrand told CNN that Trump should resign over the accusations.

"These allegations are credible," Gillibrand said in an interview on Monday with CNN's Christiane Amanpour. "They are numerous. I've heard these women's testimony, and many of them are heartbreaking."

Gillibrand recently said former president Bill Clinton, a Democrat, should have stepped down during the 1990s scandal that led the House of Representatives to vote to impeach him. 

With files from CBC News


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