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The second presidential debate flew off the rails on Sunday night when Donald Trump invoked accusations of sexual misconduct against Bill Clinton and suggested that Hillary Clinton could “be in jail” if he’s elected in November, threatening to appoint a special prosecutor to look into her private email server.
ABC’s Martha Raddatz, one of the debate moderators, asked Trump whether his behavior exposed in the shocking 2005 video released Friday, in which he bragged about groping and kissing women without permission, was consistent with his current behavior.
“As I told you, that was locker-room talk,” Trump said. “I am not proud of it. I am a person who has great respect for people, for my family, for people of this country, and I’m not proud of it.”
Trump then said if you “look at the history of politics in this country, no one had been so abusive of women” as former President Bill Clinton, the husband of the Democratic nominee, whom Trump suggested intimidated those women.
Three women who had previously accused Bill Clinton of sexual misconduct held a press conference with Trump earlier Sunday, and each was seated in the front row at the debate.
“Mine were words – his were actions,” Trump said.
“So, don’t tell me about words,” he continued. “I am absolutely, I apologize for those words. But it is things that people say. Bill Clinton. He was impeached. He was no longer allowed to practice law. He had to pay an $850,000 fine to one of the women, Paula Jones, who is here tonight. That when Hillary brings up a point like that, brings up words I say 11 years ago, I think it’s disgraceful. And I think she should be ashamed of herself, if you want to know the truth.”
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) October10, 2016
The former secretary of state responded by saying that “so much of what he just said is not right” but that he was doing it because of his floundering campaign.
“I am reminded of what my friend Michelle Obama advised us all,” she said. “When they go low, you go high.”
“And, look, if this were just about one video, maybe what he’s saying tonight would be understandable,” she said. “But everyone can come to their own conclusions about whether or not the man in the video or the man on the stage respects women. But he never apologizes to anyone for anything.”
She mentioned that Trump had not apologized to the Khans, a couple who lost a son, a Muslim US soldier, during the Iraq War. Trump engaged in a lengthy back-and-forth with the Khans after they appeared at the Democratic National Convention in July.
Clinton also said Trump had not apologized to a reporter whose disability he mocked in front of a camera, a federal judge who Trump said couldn’t do his job fairly because he was of Mexican descent, and President Barack Obama, whose birthplace Trump tried to discredit in a multiyear campaign.
“He owes the president an apology, he needs to apologize to our country, and he needs to take responsibility,” she said.
Trump responded by repeating the false claim that the Clinton campaign started the rumors casting doubt on Obama’s birthplace in 2008. He added that she owed an apology for the “33,000 emails you deleted.”
“If I win, I am going to instruct my attorney general to get a special prosecutor to look into your situation,” Trump said. “Because there have never been so many lies, so much deception. And we’re going to have a special prosecutor.”
Clinton said everything Trump said was “absolutely false” but she was “not surprised.”
“Oh really?” Trump interjected.
Clinton then mentioned the difficulty in fact-checking Trump, to which he capped off the exchange by saying “you’d be in jail” during his potential administration.