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Colorado's Diana DeGette among 145 seeking inquiry into allegations of sexual misconduct against Trump

December 13, 2017 Updated: December 13, 2017 at 5:15 pm
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U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Colo., is one of 145 members of Congress calling for an investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct against President Trump.

DeGette and others sent a letter this week requesting the inquiry by the House Oversight Committee.

"At least 17 women have publicly accused the President of sexual misconduct," the letter states. "Natasha Stonyoff recounted how the President pushed her against a wall and forced his tongue down her throat. Jill Harth described how the President attempted to get up her dress. Kristin Anderson detailed how the President touched her genitals through her underwear. Mariah Billado, Rachel Crooks, Tasha Dixon, Jessica Drake, Cathy Heller, Samantha Holvey, Ninni Laaksonen, Jessica Leeds, Temple Taggart McDowell, Mindy McGillivray, Cassandra Searles, Bridget Sullivan, Karena Virginia, and Summer Zervos also offered alarming accounts."

Trump addressed the letter in an early morning Tweet, dismissing the allegations as "fake news."

"Despite thousands of hours wasted and many millions of dollars spent, the Democrats have been unable to show any collusion with Russia - so now they are moving on to the false accusations and fabricated stories of women who I don't know and/or have never met. FAKE NEWS!" the 5:10 a.m. tweet reads.

However, the letter points out that Trump's "own remarks appear to back up the allegations. The President has boasted in public and in crude terms that he feels at liberty to perpetrate such conduct against woman," the letter says, referring to an Access Hollywood video that emerged last year on which Trump is heard talking about kissing women and grabbing them by their genitals without their consent. Trump has apologized but downplayed the comments as "locker-room talk."

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders on Monday told reporters that Trump denies all allegations of misconduct and that "the American people knew this and voted for the President and we feel like we're ready to move forward in this process."

The letter to the House oversight committee, which has the authority to investigate any matter at any time, was spearheaded by U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel, D-Fla., head of the Democratic Women's Working Group.

However, Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C. and chairman of the oversight committee has already responded by saying he will not launch an investigation into Trump's alleged behavior.

Gowdy sent a letter back to the Democratic Women's Working Group, pointing out his experience as a state and federal prosecutor, saying the allegations against Trump are crimes that violate state laws, and that he has forwarded the concerns to the Department of Justice.

"This Committee, nor any other Committee of Congress, does not, and cannot, prosecute crimes," Gowdy's letter states. "This is true for many reasons but especially true in crimes of this serious nature. Those alleging sexual assault . deserve to be interviewed by law enforcement."

Gowdy also says allegations of criminal activity should be referred to the judiciary committee, which has jurisdiction over matters that might deem an elected official unfit for office.

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