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Campaign denies claims Trump was lewd, sexist to women on The Apprentice

Donald Trump's campaign team denies allegations that he exhibited sexist behaviour on the set of the TV show The Apprentice.

Presidential candidate talks to veterans on same day he's accused of business ties to terrorists

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump took questions from a friendly audience at the Retired American Warriors conference during a campaign stop in Herndon, Va., Monday. He did not address any recent allegations against him. (Mike Segar/Reuters)

In his years as a reality TV boss on The Apprentice, Donald Trump repeatedly demeaned women with sexist language, according to show insiders who said he rated female contestants by the size of their breasts and talked about which ones he'd like to have sex with.

The Associated Press interviewed more than 20 people — former crew members, editors and contestants — who described crass behavior by the Republican presidential candidate behind the scenes of the long-running hit show, in which aspiring capitalists were given tasks to perform as they competed for jobs working for him.

Eight former crew members recalled that he repeatedly made lewd comments about a camerawoman he said had a nice rear, comparing her beauty to that of his daughter, Ivanka.

During one season, Trump called for female contestants to wear shorter dresses that also showed more cleavage, according to contestant Gene Folkes. Several cast members said Trump had one female contestant twirl before him so he could ogle her figure.

Randal Pinkett, who won The Apprentice in December 2005 and who has recently criticized Trump during his run for president, said he remembered the real estate mogul talking about which female contestants he wanted to sleep with, even though Trump had married former model Melania Knauss earlier that year.

"He was like 'Isn't she hot, check her out,' kind of gawking, something to the effect of 'I'd like to hit that.'"

The Trump campaign issued a general denial. "These outlandish, unsubstantiated, and totally false claims fabricated by publicity hungry, opportunistic, disgruntled former employees, have no merit whatsoever," said Hope Hicks, Trump's campaign spokeswoman.

Linked to Iranian terrorists

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) also reported Monday that Trump's real estate organization rented office space in New York City to an Iranian bank that has since been linked to terrorist groups.

The report said Trump inherited Bank Melli as a tenant when he purchased the General motors Building in Manhattan. It says the Trump organization kept the financial institution — one of Iran's largest state-controlled banks — as a tenant for four years after the U.S. Treasury Department designated it as being controlled by the Iranian government.

ICIJ also reported that U.S. authorities have alleged the bank was used between 2002 and 2006 to funnel money to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, which sponsored terrorist attacks in a period that overlapped with the time the bank rented space from the Trump Organization.

Campaign stop

Trump spoke to a group of veterans at the Retired American Warriors conference during a campaign stop in Herndon, Va., today.

After delaying his speech first for an hour, and then coming on stage 30 minutes after the rescheduled time, Trump said the nation's cybersecurity efforts are under "constant attack" from foreign powers. He promised to order a thorough review of the nation's computer defences and warned against potential hackers from China, Russia and North Korea.

He also vowed to form a joint federal task force, which would include the military, to crack down on hackers.

The Republican nominee also linked cyber vulnerabilities to the private email server used by his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton.
Former contestants on The Apprentice, Randal Pinkett, right, Tara Dowdell and Kwame Jackson, attend an anti-Trump news conference in New York City in April. Other cast and crew members recently told The Associated Press that Trump displayed lewd and sexist behaviour toward women on set. (Brendan McDermid/Reuters)

He said that Clinton's "only experience in cybersecurity" was her "criminal" attempt to keep her emails hidden. The FBI director chastised Clinton for use of the server but did not recommend prosecution.

Trump told the group that the United States' military is "depleted" and that he will expand the nation's armed forces. 

He said the nation has become "more interested in protecting the criminals than we are in making sure that we're strong."

The U.S. remains the world's foremost military power, though its equipment has aged. Trump did not unveil plans to pay for the expansion.

With files from CBC News

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