The recent twister of sexual assault allegations continues to rip through Washington – taking out a senator and numerous House members and high-profile journalists – but it has yet to strengthen enough to even dent President Trump. A group of Democratic lawmakers say that has to change.
More than a dozen female Democrats are leading the charge, calling on the House Oversight Committee to formally investigate the allegations against the president. Their move comes after three of Trump’s accusers renewed their charges that the former reality TV star and real estate mogul sexually harassed or assaulted them in the past.
“I call on all of my colleagues who sit on this committee to support and immediately launch this investigation, regardless of the victim or alleged predator every voice deserves to be heard,” Rep. Brenda Lawrence told reporters Tuesday. “And justice demands transparency, accountability and due process.”
A number of Democrats are going even further, calling for Trump’s resignation.
After Sen. Al Franken announced his resignation last week amid multiple allegations of groping and forced kissing, Democratic Sens. Jeff Merkley and Cory Booker and Independent Bernie Sanders called for Trump to step down, arguing that the same standard that applies to a senator should apply to the president.
Kirsten Gillibrand, who was the first Senate Democrat to publicly call on Franken to resign, has also called for Trump’s resignation – prompting a vicious response from the president Tuesday morning.
Lightweight Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a total flunky for Chuck Schumer and someone who would come to my office “begging” for campaign contributions not so long ago (and would do anything for them), is now in the ring fighting against Trump. Very disloyal to Bill & Crooked-USED!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 12, 2017
Trump’s tweet was “a sexist smear attempting to silence my voice, and I will not be silent on this issue,” Gilibrand told reporters at the Capitol Tuesday.
Tuesday afternoon, Sens. Ron Wyden and Mazie Hirono joined the chorus calling for Trump’s resignation.
When asked about the allegations against Trump at a White House press briefing Monday, Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Trump has “addressed these accusations directly and denied all of these allegations” and that the alleged misconduct took place “long before he was elected president.”
But the Democrats who want to see the president investigated – the list now includes more than 100 lawmakers – have noted that sexual assault accusations don’t just go away once a person wins elected office.
“There were so many issues being litigated [in the 2016 election] – that may have overshadowed the allegations of the many, many women who accused him of sexual abuse,” Reps. Lois Frankel tells Rolling Stone.
Sexual assault allegations continue to hover over the Capitol. Last week, Democratic Rep. John Conyers announced his resignation after multiple women accused him of harassment, and Republican Trent Franks resigned amid allegations that he made unwanted advances on female staffers as part of his effort to secure a pregnancy surrogate.
Republican Rep. Blake Farenthold has resisted calls to resign after it became public that he used $84,000 in taxpayer money to settle a sexual harassment case with a staffer. He’s pledged to pay back the money, but not stepping aside. (The House Ethics Committee is investigating those allegations.) Democratic Rep. Ruben Kihuen has been accused of sexually harassing a campaign staffer, but has refused calls from his party leaders to step aside.
Now all eyes are now on Alabama, where voters are choosing their next senator Tuesday in a race between Democrat Doug Jones and Republican Roy Moore, who has been accused by multiple women of having inappropriate relationships with teenage girls when he was in his 30s.
President Trump has endorsed Moore, saying tax reform is his number-one priority.
“I don’t know, maybe I say, ‘It takes one to know one,'” Frankel tells Rolling Stone. “I think it’s disgraceful that he would back him.”