Trump claims he ‘never met’ the woman who says he forcibly kissed her at Trump Tower

President Trump turned his Twitter attention Tuesday to previously disclosed statements by a woman who says he forced himself on her at Trump Tower in 2006.

Rachel Crooks, one of more than a dozen women who publicly accused Trump of sexual misconduct weeks before the 2016 presidential election, was profiled in a Washington Post article published on Tuesday.

“A woman I don’t know and, to the best of my knowledge, never met, is on the FRONT PAGE of the Fake News Washington Post saying I kissed her (for two minutes yet) in the lobby of Trump Tower 12 years ago,” Trump tweeted. “Never happened! Who would do this in a public space with live security cameras running. Another False Accusation.”

Crooks’s account places the incident outside an office where she was working at the time — on an upper floor, not the ground-floor building lobby.

“Please, by all means, share the footage from the hallway outside the 24th floor residential elevator bank on the morning of January 11, 2006,” Crooks tweeted in reply. “Let’s clear this up for everyone. It’s liars like you in politics that have prompted me to run for office myself.”

Earlier this month, Crooks announced plans to run for Ohio’s state legislature, saying she was inspired to do so because her accusations against Trump failed to thwart his candidacy.

The 35-year-old, who first went public with her account in October 2016, said she was a 22-year-old receptionist at a real estate company in Trump Tower when she saw Trump outside an elevator in the building.

“He was waiting for the elevator outside our office when I got up the nerve to introduce myself,” Crooks recalled in the Post profile. “He took hold of my hand and held me in place like this. He started kissing me on one cheek, then the other cheek. He was talking to me in between kisses, asking where I was from, or if I wanted to be a model. He wouldn’t let go of my hand, and then he went right in and started kissing me on the lips.”

“It felt like a long kiss,” she continued. “The whole thing probably lasted two minutes, maybe less.”

The New York Times published claims by Crooks and Jessica Leeds, who said that Trump groped her when they were seated next to each other on a flight in 1985.

“He was like an octopus,” Leeds said. “His hands were everywhere.”

At the time, Trump called the Times story “phony” and a “total fabrication” in a tweet, and a lawyer for the then-Republican nominee issued a letter accusing the Times of libel and demanding a retraction. A spokeswoman for the Times told Yahoo News that said the newspaper stood by its reporting and would not back down in the face of Trump’s legal threat.

Rachel Crooks, Jessica Leeds, and Samantha Holvey at a Dec. 11, 2017, news conference in New York for a documentary that focuses on women who have publicly accused President Trump of sexual misconduct. (Photo: Reuters/Andrew Kelly)

On Twitter Tuesday, Trump wondered aloud why the Post did not report “the women taking money to make up stories.”

In December, the Times reported that prominent women’s rights lawyer Gloria Allred was raising money to fund a defamation lawsuit against Trump by another accuser, Summer Zervos, who says Trump sexually assaulted her in 2007 after she appeared as a contestant on “The Apprentice.” Other Clinton backers pledged sums totaling more than $500,000 to encourage women to come forward with accounts of sexual misconduct by Trump, according to the Times. Nothing publicly came of those efforts.

Zervos said that during what she expected to be a business meeting with Trump in 2007, he forcibly kissed her, groped her breasts, and thrust his genitals toward her in a bungalow at the Beverly Hills Hotel.

“He came to me and started kissing me open-mouthed as he was pulling me towards him,” Zervos said in a televised press conference with Allred. “He then asked me to sit next to him. I complied. He then grabbed my shoulder and began kissing me again, very aggressively, and placed his hand on my breast.”

Trump dismissed the claims by Zervos and the other women as “100% fabricated” and politically motivated, suggesting they were part of a smear campaign engineered by his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton.

That led to Zervos to file the defamation suit on Jan. 17, 2017, just three days before Trump’s inauguration.

In announcing the suit, Allred said she hoped it would force Trump to be deposed or testify under oath — and that if he were to lie, it would be grounds for Congress to impeach him.

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