Three women who accused President Trump of past sexual misconduct — Samantha Holvey, Jessica Leeds and Rachel Crooks – repeated their accounts at a press conference Monday morning and urged Congress to hold hearings on the allegations.
Rachel Crooks, who accused Trump of kissing her without consent in 2005, called on Congress to “put aside party affiliations and investigate Trump’s history of sexual misconduct.”
That is unlikely; Congressional Republicans will be distinctly uneager to reopen a discussion about allegations of crude, obnoxious, or even criminal behavior on the part of the president, regardless of how the Alabama Senate race turns out. Democrats are likely to be quite eager to hold hearings and a formal investigation if they win control of the House of Representatives or the Senate in next year’s midterm elections.
The allegations against Trump could, at least theoretically, be used as fodder in impeachment hearings, although it’s likely that there would be intense debate about whether the alleged actions rise to the level of “high crimes and misdemeanors.” No president has ever been indicted on criminal charges while in office, and many legal and Constitutional experts contend it’s not clear that a president can be indicted while in office. (After a president leaves office, he’s fair game.)
The press conference was organized by Brave New Films, a left-of-center film nonprofit.
The White House response was blunt: “These false claims, totally disputed in most cases by eyewitness accounts, were addressed at length during last year’s campaign, and the American people voiced their judgment by delivering a decisive victory. The timing and absurdity of these false claims speaks volumes and the publicity tour that has begun only further confirms the political motives behind them.”
Yesterday on CBS’ Face the Nation, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said of Trump’s accusers, “They should be heard, and they should be dealt with. And I think we heard from them prior to the election. And I think any woman who has felt violated or felt mistreated in any way, they have every right to speak up.”
Some are interpreting Haley’s remarks as a significant break from the administration, but they’re actually pretty mundane; she’s not indicating she believes the accusations, merely that every woman has a right to speak about her experiences.