#MeToo, Round 2, for Trump
At least 15 women went public last year to accuse Donald Trump of assault, harassment and other forms of sexual misconduct. He called them liars. He won the election.
“These false claims ... were addressed at length during last year’s campaign, and the American people voiced their judgment by delivering a decisive victory,” a White House statement said Monday.
So what’s new? The flood of claims this fall by women who said they were victimized by prominent men — many of whom have since been purged from positions of power — prompted three women who named Trump to speak up again at a news conference.
One, Jessica Leeds, said that while some men are “being held accountable for unwanted behavior ... we are not holding our president accountable for what he is and who he is.”
“The environment’s different. Let’s try again,” said another, Samantha Holvey.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) was among the colleagues of Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) who pressed him to quit last week. She said Monday that Trump should resign, and because he won’t, “Congress should have ... appropriate investigations of his behavior and hold him accountable.” See Yancey Roy’s story for Newsday.
Immigration policy pitch
Trump said Monday’s terrorist bomb explosion in midtown Manhattan boosted his case to roll back immigration-law preferences for extended family members of those already here.
“Today’s attempted mass murder attack in New York City — the second terror attack in New York in the last two months — once again highlights the urgent need for Congress to enact legislative reforms to protect the American people,” a Trump statement said.
Suspect Akayed Ullah, an immigrant from Bangladesh, entered the U.S. in 2011 on an F-43 family immigrant visa, the White House said.
Obama, ’bama and Trump
Former President Barack Obama is in a robocall duel with Trump to influence Tuesday’s Alabama Senate special election.
Obama recorded a call to rally support and voter turnout for Democratic candidate Doug Jones. Trump is urging voters to back Republican Roy Moore.
Transgender ban bends
The Pentagon is allowing transgender people to enlist in the military beginning Jan. 1, despite Trump’s determination to ban them, because the policy is hitting resistance in the courts.
Potential transgender recruits will have to overcome a lengthy and strict set of physical, medical and mental standards to show they are clinically stable in their preferred gender.
Tax plan push
Trump will give a speech from the Treasury Department Wednesday to make closing arguments for Republican plans to rewrite the nation’s tax laws.
The president’s pitch will be that “tax reform will lead to a brighter future for them and their families,” said Lindsay Walters, the deputy press secretary.
Polls have shown the public is skeptical. A new USA Today/Suffolk University survey found 32% of Americans support the GOP tax plan and 48% oppose it.
Our own Rocket Man
Trump signed a directive that enables NASA to again focus its efforts on sending Americans to the moon, and eventually Mars, reports Newsday’s Emily Ngo.
“It marks an important step in returning American astronauts to the moon for the first time since 1972 for long-term exploration and use,” Trump said in a Roosevelt Room ceremony.
No astronaut has been on the moon since the Apollo 17 mission in December 1972.
What else is happening
- Trump was infuriated with UN Ambassador Nikki Haley’s comment on CBS’ “Face the Nation” Sunday that his sexual misconduct accusers “should be heard,” The Associated Press reported.
- Special counsel Robert Mueller is trying to piece together what happened in the White House after officials were warned that national security adviser Michael Flynn was a Russian blackmail risk, NBC News reports. Flynn was fired 18 days later.
- Justice Department official Bruce Ohr met last year with executives of Fusion GPS, the firm behind a disputed dossier of Trump-Russia ties, and Ohr’s wife was working for Fusion, Fox News reported.
- Former CIA deputy director Michael Morell told a Politico podcast that he failed to “think through” one consequence of endorsing Hillary Clinton last year — that it fed Trump’s suspicion of the intelligence community as adversaries.
- A Louisiana private investigator pleaded guilty to misusing Trump’s Social Security number in repeated failed attempts to access Trump’s federal tax information before the 2016 election. Jordan Hamlett, 32, could be sentenced to 5 years in prison.
- A Trump tweet labeled a New York Times account that he watches TV four to eight hours a day as a “false story.” The Times stood by its story.