‘He was like an octopus’

Trump called his boasts about forcing himself on women “locker room talk” that never happened. Two women told The New York Times that it happened to them.

Jessica Leeds said that more than 30 years ago, she was seated next to Trump in the first-class cabin of a plane when he grabbed her breasts and tried to put his hand up her skirt.

“He was like an octopus,” she said. “His hands were everywhere.”

Rachel Crooks said she was a 22-year-old receptionist working for another company in Trump Tower in 2005 when she encountered Trump and introduced herself with a handshake. Trump began kissing her cheeks and then “directly on the mouth.”

The Times said it spoke to friends and family of the women who they told about the alleged incidents. In an angry denial, Trump said, “None of this ever took place.” A Trump spokeswoman denied yet another groping allegation reported in The Palm Beach Post.

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Threatening lawsuits, Trump tweeted an angry denial at the Times on Thursday.

A People person steps forward

Natasha Stoynoff, a writer for People magazine, came forward in print with a palpably detailed story of berng aggressively hit on by the hands-on billionaire in 2005. Trump tweeted Thursday: "Why didn't the writer of the twelve year old article in People Magazine mention the "incident" in her story. Because it did not happen!"

Beauty and the peeps

Four contestants from a 1997 Miss Teen USA beauty pageant and two from the 2001 Miss USA contest tell stories of Trump walking into their dressing rooms while they were changing, according to BuzzFeed, The Guardian and CBS Los Angeles.

On Howard Stern’s radio show in 2005, Trump described such drop-ins. “’I’m allowed to go in because I’m the owner of the pageant and therefore I’m inspecting it,” he said.

Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway, on CNN, denied knowledge that any such thing happened.

Counterpunch: Cosby-fying Bill Clinton

A senior Trump adviser told Bloomberg News his campaign will soon bring forward new accusers: “Women are coming to us who have been groped or sexually abused by Bill Clinton.”

Campaign CEO Steve Bannon told staffers: “We’re going to turn him into Bill Cosby,” the report said, citing information from two advisers who were present.

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But there was more defense to be played on Trump's side. The Daily News, self-assigned anti-Trump tabloid, ginned up a comment the real estate heir made in 1992 in which he said a 10-year-old girl was someone he'd be dating in another 10 years.

Thin, perhaps, but now part of the media storm.

WikiLeaks drip, drip and drip

Trump and his campaign are trying mightily to pump up outrage over this week’s daily revelations from the WikiLeaks hack of Hillary Clinton campaign manager John Podesta’s emails.

For example, an exchange between a campaign spokeswoman and a think tank official — both Catholic — that seemed to disparage wealthy conservative Catholics was denounced by Conway — also Catholic — as “disdain for us and our core beliefs.” See Newsday’s story by Emily Ngo.

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An embarrassing pattern in the emails are often snippy remarks about people within the Clinton orbit or potential allies, such as a Podesta memo on recommended outreach efforts (subject line: “needy Latinos”).

It uses a vulgar equivalent of “jerk” to describe former UN ambassador Bill Richardson.

The likely Russpects

Podesta charged there was coordination between WikiLeaks and Trump ally Roger Stone, but evidence so far doesn’t confirm that, according to The Washington Post. Even so, The Wall Street Journal [pay site] reported Russian intelligence agencies are suspected by the FBI of carrying out the hack.

Curiously, the Russians aren’t clearly denying it.

“We did not deny this,” said Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, adding: “They did not prove it.”

“Everyone is saying, ‘Who did it?’ ” Russian President Vladimir Putin told an investors forum in Moscow. “But does it matter that much? It’s what’s inside the information that matters.”

The take-away: De Blasio’s 2 cents

WikiLeaks’ hack of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta’s emails cast a less-than-flattering light on New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, who imagined himself to be a bigger player and louder voice with a candidate he hesitated to endorse.

There was also an ironic piece of advice — that Clinton should have answered a question on mass incarceration head-on instead of deflecting it during a primary debate with Bernie Sanders.

Deflection has become a default tactic for de Blasio as he increasingly refuses to take questions from reporters he declares hostile. See Dan Janison’s column for Newsday.

Trump sees ‘sinister’ plot

  • Trump, in Florida, said House Speaker Paul Ryan and other Republicans distancing themselves from him were part of “a whole sinister deal going on.” Read the story by Newsday’s Laura Figueroa.
  • Clinton, in Colorado, denounced what she called "scorched-earth" tactics by Republicans and said:“Reject the dark and divisive and hateful campaign that is being run.”
  • Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani apologized for telling a Trump rally that he “didn’t remember seeing Hillary Clinton” on Sept. 11, 2001. They toured Ground Zero together the next day. See Figueroa’s story for Newsday.
  • Newsday’s Carol Polsky found Trump supporters on Long Island sticking by him. “Sometimes you need a disgusting person to make a change,” said retired NYPD cop William P. Benson.
  • Two Republican senators who called for Trump to quit the race after the release of the “Access Hollywood” video have reversed themselves. Sens. Deb Fischer of Nebraska and John Thune of South Dakota say they will vote for him.
  • Trump said that if Clinton is elected, ISIS will “take over this country.”
  • The final presidential debate is next Wednesday and moderator Chris Wallace of Fox News has named the topics: debt and entitlements, immigration, the economy, the Supreme Court, foreign hot spots and the candidates’ fitness to be president.
  • The Podesta emails aren’t all about politics. WikiLeaks also hacked his tips for cooking creamy risotto.