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The calls for Trump to be investigated for sexual misconduct just got a lot louder

Fifty-six lawmakers have signed a letter asking the House Oversight Committee to look into the matter.

President Donald Trump speaks in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Monday, December 11, 2017, in Washington, D.C. (CREDIT: AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
President Donald Trump speaks in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Monday, December 11, 2017, in Washington, D.C. (CREDIT: AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

A group of Democratic congresswomen signed a letter this week calling on the House Oversight Committee to launch a full and formal investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct against President Trump. The letter, signed by 56 lawmakers so far, asks Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-SC) and Ranking Member Elijah Cummings (D-MD) to respond within 10 days with a decision on the matter.

“[…] We are requesting that the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform investigate the reports of sexual misconduct raised against President Trump, many of which he has denied,” the letter states. “The American people deserve a full inquiry into the truth of these allegations.”

After listing the names of each of Trump’s accusers, the lawmakers add, “At least 17 women have publicly accused the President of sexual misconduct. …The President’s own remarks appear to back up the allegations.”

Screengrab of Democratic Women's Working Group letter to House Oversight Committee.
Screengrab of Democratic Women's Working Group letter to House Oversight Committee.

The letter comes on the heels of renewed interest in the president’s accusers, three of whom recently spoke out about their experiences on Megyn Kelly TODAY, amid a flurry of similar accusations against other powerful figures.

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“It was heartbreaking last year. …We’re private citizens and for us to put ourselves out there and try to show America who this man is, and especially how he views women, and for them to say, ‘Meh, we don’t care’… it hurt,” Samantha Holvey, a former Miss USA competitor who met Trump in 2006, said on Monday. “And so now it’s just like, let’s try round two. The environment’s different, let’s try again.”

The watershed “Me Too” movement has brought down a slew of allegations against politicians at the local, state, and federal level, Trump among them. While several of those lawmakers have chosen to resign — most recently, Minnesota Sen. Al Franken (D) announced he was stepping down over allegations that he sexually harassed several women — the president has chosen instead to dig in his heels.

On Tuesday, the Trump responded angrily to the Democratic congresswomen’s letter, implying that their calls for an investigation were a witch-hunt.

“Despite thousands of hours wasted and many millions of dollars spent, the Democrats have been unable to show any collusion with Russia – so now they are moving on to the false accusations and fabricated stories of women who I don’t know and/or have never met,” he tweeted. “FAKE NEWS!”

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There is, of course, plenty of evidence to back his accusers’ claims, including the notorious Access Hollywood tape, in which Trump can be heard talking about grabbing women by the genitals, as well as a 2005 Howard Stern radio interview during which Trump describes how he would sneak backstage during his beauty pageants to ogle women as they changed.

At least one of Trump’s accusers, who says Trump kissed her without her consent outside the elevators at his Trump Tower penthouse, asked on Monday that evidence supporting her claims be released as well.

“I recently read a comment [saying], ‘If this happened in Trump Tower, they have to have security footage. Where is that?’ Yes, where is that? Let’s get that out,” Rachel Crooks, a former Trump Tower employee, told Megyn Kelly on Monday. “I would love for that to be made public.”

Speaking with reporters last month, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters that the administration’s official position on Trump’s accusers is that they’re all liars.

“We’ve been clear on that from the beginning and the president has spoken on it,” Sanders told reporters.

During Monday’s briefing, Sanders re-upped that sentiment, adding that Trump had been vindicated through his 2016 election victory.

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“The people of this country, at a decisive election, supported President Trump, and we feel like these allegations have been answered through that process,” she said. “The American people knew this and voted for the president, and we feel like we’re ready to move forward in that process.”

In Monday’s letter to the House Oversight Committee, Democratic congresswomen pushed back.

“In the time of ‘Me Too,’ women across the country are coming forward with their own harrowing stories of sexual harassment and assault,” they wrote. Members of Congress have also come under scrutiny and investigation, with some resigning, for improper sexual conduct. We cannot ignore the multitude of women who have come forward with accusations against Mr. Trump.”