‘Totally fake news’: Trump reacts to campaign subpoena for documents on sexual assault accusations

Trump's comments come amid heightened national dialogue on the subject.

Trump and Zervos CREDIT: AP Photos/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, left, and Ringo H.W. Chiu, Files
Trump and Zervos CREDIT: AP Photos/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, left, and Ringo H.W. Chiu, Files

During a press conference Monday, President Trump said that allegations of sexual assault that have been made against him are “totally fake news.”

“In the wake of an avalanche of allegations made against Harvey Weinstein, your campaign is being subpoenaed [for] any documents related to sexual harassment allegations made against you. Do you have a response to that?” a reporter asked Trump during a press conference with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell at the White House.

“All I can say is it’s totally fake news. Just fake,” Trump said. “It’s made up stuff, and it’s disgraceful what happens, but that happens in the world of politics.”

The reporter’s question referred to a woman who has alleged Trump groped her, and a subpoena she and her lawyers filed for any Trump campaign documents pertaining to her accusations. It also requests documents referencing “any woman alleging that Donald J. Trump touched her inappropriately.”


The subpoena was issued earlier this year and entered into the court file last month, and it encompasses documents related to more than a dozen women who have alleged Trump sexually assaulted or harassed them.

The woman who has subpoenaed the documents, Summer Zervos, was formerly a contestant on Trump’s reality TV show The Apprentice. Zervos alleges Trump groped her and kissed her at the Beverly Hills Hotel in 2007 when she went to his room to discuss a possible job opportunity.

Trump has previously denied the allegation and claimed Zervos was lying. Zervos subsequently sued for defamation. The subpoena Trump was asked about Monday is part of Zervos’s defamation suit.

The contents of the subpoena were first reported by BuzzFeed on SundayTrump’s lawyers have claimed the subpoena is “far-reaching” and that the suit is politically motivated.


As the reporter behind the subpoena question noted on Monday, the news comes in the wake of an avalanche of allegations against movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, which has triggered a national conversation about sexual harassment and assault.

Earlier this month, The New York Times ran an expose detailing Weinstein’s alleged history of paying off accusers, and last week, The New Yorker published its own report of Weinstein’s alleged predatory history, including three women who went on the record claiming that Weinstein had raped or harassed them.

Unlike the allegations against himself, Trump has been quick to say he believes the women alleging Weinstein sexually assaulted and harassed them are telling the truth.

“I’ve known Harvey Weinstein a long time,” Trump said last week. “I’m not at all surprised to see it.”