WASHINGTON – Donald Trump mischaracterized the record on Hillary Clinton’s defence of her husband and her own treatment of women when he brought up Bill Clinton’s sexual history and other episodes of the past.
A look at some of the claims in the second presidential debate:
TRUMP on women linked to Bill Clinton sexually: “Hillary Clinton attacked those same women and attacked them viciously.”
THE FACTS: There is no clear, independent evidence that Hillary Clinton “viciously” attacked women who alleged or confirmed sexual contact with her husband.
To be sure, in the 1992 Democratic primaries, she was deeply involved in the Clinton campaign’s effort to discredit one accuser, actress Gennifer Flowers, who alleged she had a long-running affair with Bill Clinton. Both Clintons acknowledged past troubles in their marriage but sought to undermine Flowers’ claims. Bill Clinton later acknowledged in a 1998 court deposition that he had a sexual encounter with Flowers.
Hillary Clinton was also quoted over the years making disparaging comments about other women linked with her husband.
What is lacking is proof that she engineered efforts to smear their reputation. Diane Blair, a political science professor and long-time Hillary Clinton friend who died in 2000, left behind an account of private interviews with Hillary Clinton in which she told her during the Monica Lewinsky affair that she considered the former White House intern a “narcissistic loony toon.”
TRUMP on Hillary Clinton’s behaviour when, as a young public defender, she was assigned to represent an accused child rapist: “She’s seen on two separate occasions, laughing at the girl who was raped. Kathy Shelton, that young woman, is here with us tonight.”
THE FACTS: At no point was Clinton seen laughing at the victim.
In 1975, at the age of 12, Shelton was sexually assaulted in Northwest Arkansas. Clinton was asked by a judge overseeing the case to represent her alleged attacker. After the prosecution lost key evidence, Clinton’s client entered a plea to a lesser charge.
In an interview a decade later, Clinton expressed horror at the crime, but was recorded on tape laughing about procedural details of the case. The audio has been seized on by conservative groups looking to attack Clinton’s presidential candidacy but does not convey mirth at the girl’s fate.
TRUMP on Bill Clinton: “He lost his license. He had to pay an $850,000 fine.”
THE FACTS: Trump’s facts are, at best, jumbled. In 1998, lawyers for Bill Clinton settled with former Arkansas state employee Paul Jones for $850,000 in her four-year lawsuit alleging sexual harassment. It was not a fine, and there was no finding or admission of wrongdoing.
Trump erred in describing the legal consequences of that case. In a related case before the Arkansas State Supreme Court, Clinton was fined $25,000 and his Arkansas law license was suspended for five years. Clinton also faced disbarment before the U.S. Supreme Court but he opted to resign from the court’s practice instead of facing any penalties.
EDITOR’S NOTE _ A look at the veracity of claims by political figures
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