Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is seen during a press conference at Los Pinos on Aug. 31, 2016 in Mexico City, Mexico. 
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Trump confronts new allegations of sexual misconduct

The Rachel Maddow Show, 10/12/16, 8:59 PM ET

New allegations of sexual misconduct leveled against Trump

Rachel Maddow reports on three new allegations of sexual misconduct against Donald Trump made by women who were apparently prompted to go public after Trump’s debate denials that his obscene language about women caught on tape was anything more than talk.
Last night, new allegations of sexual misconduct directed at Donald Trump were almost hard to keep up with. Women, who just recently decided to go on the record with their stories, talked to a variety of news outlets about their alleged experiences, and each of the stories are worth considering in detail.

Here’s the New York Times report, the Palm Beach Post report, and the People magazine report, each featuring accounts that have not yet been verified by MSNBC or NBC News. There’s also this NBC News report on allegations from a former participant in the 1997 Miss USA pageant.

As Rachel emphasized on the show, as of last night, the Republican candidate and his campaign team emphatically denied the accuracy of each of the claims. Because many of the incidents involve actions that may have taken place several years ago, it will be difficult to know with certainty what did and did not occur between Trump and his accusers.

As for the politics of all of this – the allegations surfaced with just four weeks remaining until Election Day, with early voting in some states already underway – one of the unusual facets to these developments is the order in which they unfolded.

Late Friday, we learned that Trump was recorded in 2005 boasting about his romantic exploits, which eventually led him to brag about committing sexual assaults. The Republican presidential candidate said, among other things, that he kisses women he considers beautiful – “I don’t even wait,” Trump claimed – which he said he can get away with because of his public profile.

“And when you’re a star, they let you do it,” Trump said on the recording. “You can do anything. Grab ‘em by the p—y.”

Two days later, Americans saw this exchange between Trump and Anderson Cooper at the second presidential debate:
COOPER: So, for the record, you’re saying you never did [the things you described in 2005]?

TRUMP: I’ve said things that, frankly, you hear these things I said. And I was embarrassed by it. But I have tremendous respect for women.

COOPER: Have you ever done those things?

TRUMP: And women have respect for me. And I will tell you: No, I have not.
It was this back and forth that apparently encouraged some women to speak up.

Obviously, the accusers’ claims and Trump’s denials will draw careful scrutiny, but purely as a political matter, I can’t think of any controversy that’s followed such an unusual trajectory:

1. Trump is heard boasting on tape about groping women.

2. Trump said his boasts weren’t true and that he never actually groped women.

3. A variety of accusers came forward to allege they were, in fact, groped by Trump.

4. Trump and his campaign insist there’s no reason to believe these women, so long as we overlook the recording of Trump’s previous comments.

It’s like watching a more traditional campaign scandal play out in reverse.

Donald Trump

Trump confronts new allegations of sexual misconduct