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New scandals haunt Trump, Clinton ahead of second debate Open in fullscreen

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New scandals haunt Trump, Clinton ahead of second debate

Trump faces hugely damaging new scandals [AFP]

Date of publication: 8 October, 2016

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Donald Trump reels under a barrage of missteps and scandalous revelations of lewd comments he made about women several years ago, undermining the Republican's attempts to steady his presidential bid

Donald Trump reeled Friday under a barrage of campaign missteps and scandalous revelations of lewd comments he made about women several years ago, undermining the Republican's attempts to steady a presidential bid at risk of imploding.

Trump tried to head off some of the damage by issuing a statement apologising "if anyone was offended" by the vulgar remarks captured on the 2005 tape made public for the first time on Friday. In the recording obtained, Trump describes trying to have sex with a married woman and brags about women letting him kiss and grab them because he is famous.

"When you're a star they let you do it," Trump says. "You can do anything."

He adds seconds later, "Grab them by the p----. You can do anything."

Hillary Clinton seized on her rival's comments, calling them "horrific." She said in a Twitter message: "We cannot allow this man to become president."

But she had her own problems with revelations.

The WikiLeaks organisation posted what it said were thousands of emails from Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, including some with excerpts from speeches she gave to Wall Street executives and others — speeches she has declined to release despite demands from Trump.

The excerpts include Clinton suggesting that Wall Street insiders are best equipped to help reform the financial sector. She also says that presidential candidates for both parties must have tens of millions in contributions from New York to mount competitive national campaigns.

Trump has insisted that she is too cozy with Wall Street to reform it.
The revelations came two days before Trump and Clinton are to meet in Sunday's second presidential debate, with the Republican urgently in need of a strong performance.
Crunch time

The revelations came two days before Trump and Clinton are to meet in Sunday's second presidential debate, with the Republican urgently in need of a strong performance.

After his uneven showing in the first contest, public opinion polls have showed Clinton pulling ahead in nearly all battleground states, some of which are already in the midst of early voting.

Trump advisers planned for him to spend a quiet Friday preparing for the debate and meeting with border security officials. But the day was quickly consumed by a series of controversies.

Then, there were new signs of unusual links between Trump and Russia. For the first time, the US publicly blamed the Russian government for hacking the Democratic National Committee and accused Moscow of trying to interfere with the American election. Diplomats also told The Associated Press that Russia had lodged a formal complaint last month with the United Nations over a top UN official's condemnations of Trump.

"It should concern every American that Russia is willing to engage in such hostile acts in order to help Donald Trump become president of the United States," Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta said of the hacking.

While Trump has survived numerous controversies that would have sunk other candidates, Friday's developments come at a crucial moment in the race. Less than five weeks from Election Day, Trump still needs to expand his support to overtake Clinton, and is struggling in particular with minorities and women.

The unearthed video of Trump's 2005 comments seemed likely to make any effort to win over women exceedingly more difficult.

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