On Wednesday night, reports surfaced about several women who claimed that Donald Trump groped or otherwise inappropriately touched them. This included separate accounts published by the New York Times and Palm Beach Post. A few hours later, ABC News tweeted word from three senior-level sources that Trump’s attorneys were in the process of drafting a defamation lawsuit against the New York Times, and CNN Money added that similar treatment was in store for The Post. At around midnight, Trump’s attorneys reportedly sent this letter to the Times. This isn’t a lawsuit (though it could become one) but a demand for a retraction.
The Times reported claims from two women, the first one being Jessica Leeds, who alleged that Trump groped her “like an octopus” on a commercial flight in the 1980s. The second woman, Rachel Crooks, claims Trump kissed her in a Trump Tower elevator in 2005, and she felt violated when he allegedly forced himself on her. At about the same time that The Times published their report, the Palm Beach Post reported the account of Mindy McGillivray, who claimed she was groped by Trump during a party at his Mar-a-Lago compound in Palm Beach, Florida. The incident reportedly occurred in 2003 while Trump was married to Melania, who was just down the hallway.
The Washington Post‘s Robert Costa reports Trump is “furious” and “going to war” over these allegations. CNN Money spoke with New York Times reporter Megan Twohey, who said she spoke with Trump on Tuesday evening, and he was aware of the impending report. Twohey claims Trump “threatened to sue us” and called her “a disgusting human being” while denying the women’s claims. The Trump campaign has issued a denial of the allegations. In particular, the campaign calls The Times report “fiction” and “a completely false, coordinated character assassination.”