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article imageClinton takes high road, doesn't bring up Trump rape allegations

By Marcus Hondro     Oct 12, 2016 in Politics
In Sunday's debate Donald Trump took the ball and ran it into the political gutter with allegations of sexual assault and rape against Hillary Clinton's husband. But here's this: she could have pointed out the same allegations have been made against him.
Trump attacks Bill Clinton
Americans bemoan the loss of civility in politics and the 2016 election has again brought that issue to the forefront, with last Sunday highlighting the lack of it. Pundits have called it the most vicious presidential debate in history.
It did not take long before Trump brought up the allegations of sexual impropriety made years ago against Bill Clinton (who is, of course, not running against Donald Trump) and called the former president a predator. Trump had in the audience at his invitation three women who've accused Clinton of sexual misconduct.
Referring to a lewd tape on which he's heard boasting of sexually assaulting women with impunity, Trump said it was just "locker-room talk." That description is being disputed and former NFLer Chris Kluwe published a piece denying players talk of women like Trump does; LeBron James did an interview in which he said that NBA players do not talk of assaulting women in their locker rooms, either.
And yet at the debate (and often since), Trump claimed all he did was what men do in locker rooms all over the country, insisting that boasting about sexually assaulting women was an okay thing to do, and that he hadn't actually done it. But Bill Clinton, he said, didn't just talk of abusing women but abused them (accusations never proven in court).
When the self-proclaimed billionaire attacked her husband, Hillary Clinton could have attacked him with some very serious allegations of a very similar nature. The allegations against Trump do not concern words, either, but also actions, abusive ones, and he, too, stands accused of rape. Indeed, a hearing to determine whether a rape case will go forward against Trump is scheduled for December 16.
But instead, Clinton noted that her "friend Michelle Obama" told her that "when they go low, you go high." The crowd applauded and Clinton continued the debate, winning it handily, as she did the first one. She did not go low but did articulate her thoughts on health care, energy, security and other issues important to America.
Much like in their first debate, Trump brought blustering and repetitive hyperbole to the town-hall style debate. He rambled, accused and denigrated, rarely bringing up specifics on policy and when he did he was incapable of sticking to them for anything but a sound bite. His debate skills, again, were that of a child.
Trump sex assault allegations
So what incidents could Clinton have used? There are at least three that are of a very serious nature, including the rape allegation. There are also stories of women enduring encounters of a sexual nature with Trump, like being kissed without their consent, exactly what he spoke of on the lurid tape; many of those stories come from former Miss USA contestants who were teenagers at the time.
One of the three incidents of a serious nature stems from a disposition from Ivana Trump during her divorce proceedings with Donald Trump in 1991. In a sworn disposition, Ivana Trump said that after her husband became angry for her having recommended a plastic surgeon he said did a poor job, he attacked her.
She said he held her arms back, pulled out chunks of her hair and penetrated her without her consent, and she's reported to have used the word rape. She later said he made her feel "violated." Trump denied it ever happened and after the divorce was finalized the disposition was sealed and Ivana Trump got her settlement — and recanted her testimony.
When the Daily Beast did a story on that story, Trump's attorney Michael Cohen threatened one of their reporters with legal reprisals, saying that what he was "going to do to you is going to be fucking disgusting."
He also said "you write a story that has Mr. Trump's name in it, with the word 'rape,' and I'm going to mess your life up... you're going to have judgments against you, so much money, you'll never know how to get out from underneath it."
Further, Cohen told the Daily Beast reporter that in any case: "You cannot rape your spouse. There's very clear case law." Mr. Cohen, is wrong, though it seems likely he knew that. While marital rape was once legal in the U.S. for more than twenty years now all 50 states have had provisions making marital rape a crime. Though more difficult to prove, there have been successful prosecutions for martial rape in the country.
Harassment charges dropped
Here's a second allegation of sexual impropriety against Trump: he was accused of sexual harassment in the mid-90s by Jill Harth. She and her then-husband were engaged in business dealings with Trump and she alleged that in 1993 at Trump's Florida Mar-a-Lago estate, he sexually assaulted her. The assault — he's denied it — included groping, pushing and trying to force her to kiss him.
“I was admiring the decoration, and next thing I know he’s pushing me against a wall and has his hands all over me,” Harth told the New York Times. “He was trying to kiss me. I was freaking out." She initiated a lawsuit but dropped it after she and her husband reached an out-of-court settlement with Trump on money he and his business owed them but had refused to pay.
Did he agree to pay in order to silence the sexual assault suit? Why pay this time? He has a history of slugging it out in court — he's been involved in over 3,500 court cases — and of bleeding his opponent of resources so badly they give up. In June reporter Steve Reilly of USA Today did a piece on how Trump prefers fighting to settling.
"The actions in total paint a portrait of Trump’s sprawling organization frequently failing to pay small businesses and individuals, then sometimes tying them up in court and other negotiations for years,” Reilly wrote. “In some cases, the Trump teams financially overpower and outlast much smaller opponents, draining their resources.”
Trump rape charges
The third allegation against him is for rape and his accuser claims he raped her on four occasions when she was but 13-years-old. Trump has denied the allegations but the case is before the federal courts and the first hearing is scheduled in New York on December 16.
The woman, 'Jane Doe' in the lawsuit, now in her 30s, says the rapes took place in 1994 at sex parties. She claims once to have screamed at him to stop and he hit her, telling her he could do "whatever he wanted." Also involved in her claim is Trump's close friend, Jeffrey Epstein, a convicted sex offender registered as a level three sex offender.
Like the accusation of rape against Bill Clinton, these allegations have never been proven, though they may yet be. Trump's lawyer calls them "categorically untrue and an obvious publicity stunt aimed at smearing my client” and said they will move to have them dismissed. But there is a real chance that if Trump wins the election, America could have a sitting president found guilty of a sex crime.
There are other women claiming Trump did things like those he spoke of with Billy Bush in that lurid 2005 tape. The New York Times ran a story in May, conducting 50 interviews, to "reveal unwelcome romantic advances" and "unending commentary on the female form" that appeared to be "unimportant moments to him....(that) left lasting impressions on the women who experienced them."
But despite all of the above, in the debate Hillary Clinton stayed focused and spent most of her time talking policy. She did not even defend her husband despite the fact many of the allegations against him are flawed or have been discredited.
Nor did she get into the case of the 12-year-old rape victim Trump said she laughed at over 40-years ago, something she emphatically did not do; in fact, she only took on the girl's attacker's case after being forced to by the judge.
So Clinton could have gone low, as the Donald did, but stayed high. Should she win on November 8 (her lead is building in the polls) then her refusal to go low will surely have been a factor. And that may help return civility to future elections and pull politics back out of the gutter. Something else that may help raise the bar?
Donald Trump's brief career as a politician would surely be over.
More about trump clinton debate, Presidential debate, Us election, Hillary clinton, Donald trump
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