Trump calls E. Jean Carroll sexual abuse claims 'hanky panky'
Trump tells Kaitlan Collins the E. Jean Carroll sexual abuse claims were ‘hanky panky’ and tears into judge for refusing to let jury hear she ‘called her husband an ape’ and ‘had a cat named vagina’: Ex-President comes out swinging in CNN town hall
- Trump’s first public appearance since jury found he sexually abused Carroll
- He blasted Carroll, the verdict and the judge in the case
- He came out swinging under aggressive questioning from Collins
- Who is Kaitlan Collins? The CNN anchor interviewing Donald Trump
Donald Trump came out swinging under aggressive questioning for CNN’s Kaitlan Collins’, slamming writer E. Jean Carroll for her rape accusation, refusing to say he lost the 2020 election and defending his supporters’ actions on January 6th.
Collins asked Trump about Tuesday’s verdict in New York that found he was liable for the sexual assault of Carroll at a department story in the 1990s. Trump has denied the charge. The town hall was his first public appearance since the verdict.
‘What do you say to voters who say it disqualifies you from being president?,’ Collins asked him.
‘There weren’t too many of them because my numbers just – they went up,’ Trump said as the audience cheered and applauded.
The former president repeated his claim he didn’t know Carroll and then proceeded to insult her repeatedly – accusing her of ‘hanky panky,’ claiming she has a cat called ‘Vagina’ and that she called her husband an ‘ape.’ He slammed U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan, who was appointed to the job by President Bill Clinton.
‘This woman, I don’t know her. I never met her. I have no idea who she is. I had a picture taken years ago with her and her husband, nice guy John Johnson. He was a newscaster, very nice. She called him an ape, happens to be African American. Called him an ape,’ Trump claimed.
‘The judge wouldn’t allow us to put that in. Her dog or her cat was named Vagina, the judge wouldn’t allow to put that in,’ he added.
Trump also said of Carroll: ‘What kind of a woman meet somebody and brings them up and within minutes you’re playing hanky-panky in a dressing room, I don’t know if she was married then or not. John Johnson, I feel sorry for you.’
Donald Trump slammed writer E. Jean Carroll in the CNN town hall
In the first 30 minutes of the town hall, the former president blamed Nancy Pelosi for not securing the Capitol on the day of the riot and even pulled out notes of old tweets he posted that day.
The crowd at New Hampshire’s St. Anselm College – made up of Republican primary voters and independent voters – cheered and applaused Trump’s signature moves, which included name calling, taking out props, and dashing off quips at Collins.
Outside, small group of anti-Trump protesters gathered. Their signs included messages like ‘Nobody is above the law’ and ‘Elections not insurrection.’
Trump doubled down on his false claim he won the 2020 presidential election over Joe Biden.
‘I think that when you look at that result and when you look at what happened during that election, unless you’re a very stupid person, you see what a lot of the people in this audience and probably maybe a couple that don’t, but most people understand what happened. That was a rigged election,’ Trump said.
He made that claim several times during the event.
‘The election was not rigged, Mr. President. You cannot keep saying that all night long,’ Collins told him.
Collins pressed him hard: ‘It’s been nearly 2 1/2 years. Can you saw that you did lose the 2020 election?’
Trump refused to back down, saying there was evidence of ballot stuffing and people voting mulitple times. There has never been proof given of this and multiple recounts and lawsuits confirmed Biden’s victory.
A voter in the audience asked Trump if he would drop the election fraud claims.
‘Yes, unless I see election fraud,’ he said.
‘Let’s just win it again and straighten out our country,’ he added as the audience applauded.
Trump faced aggressive questioning from CNN’s Kaitlan Collins
He also slammed Biden’s handling of the situation on the Southern border. Trump’s Title 42 – which allowed officials to turn back migrants due to the COVID pandemic – expires on Thursday. There is expected to be a rush of migrants crossing the border.
‘Look at what’s happening at our southern border,’ Trump said. ‘Millions of people are coming in. They’re being released from prisons. They’re being released from mental institutions, and we have millions of people pouring into our country, and now they’re getting rid of Title 42, which I put on, which kept people out.’
Trump also defended his actions on January 6th, when he spoke to supporters on the National Mall that morning.
‘They were there with love in their heart. That was an unbelievable and it was a beautiful day,’ he said of his rally. ‘And what I was asked to do — I wasn’t involved in it very much. I was asked to come in and would I make a speech. I made a speech and I said walk peacefully and patriotically.’
He then blamed the insurrection on Pelosi, who was speaker at the time.
‘Nancy Pelosi — crazy Nancy as I affectionately call her. Crazy Nancy and the mayor of Washington D.C. were in charge of capitol security,’ he said. The speaker is not in charge os security of the Capitol.
As Collins pressed him on his actions that day Trump reached into his suit jacket’s innner pocket and pulled out a sheave of papers to cite his old tweets.
‘Let me pull it out. I have to pull it out,’ he said of the notes. The audience applauded and cheered.
‘So if you look at on January 5th – the day before – I said please support our capitol police and law enforcement, they are truly are on the side of our country, stay peaceful. Stay peaceful. This was the day before, and this was in the form of Twitter,’ he said.
He then noted a video – that he made late in the day hours after the insurrection started – asking his supporters to go home. And he got in a hit at Biden.
‘If you remember I made a video right outside the Oval Office in the rose garden, and I’m very proud of that video. I didn’t have a script. I don’t need a script unlike a certain person in there right,’ he said getting in a hit at Biden.
Trump is the leading contender for the GOP presidential nomination – and a poll this weekend showed him beating President Joe Biden in the general election.
Trump has long had a fraught relationship with CNN, which he derided as ‘fake news’ as president, even though former exec Jeff Zucker helped give him his start on ‘the Apprentice.’
Now, he is being questioned Collins, who his staff tried to bump from her seat in the White House briefing room amid tense relations between Trump and the press generally.
The then-president also – at one point – banned Collins from one of his appearances in the White House Rose Garden in 2018 when he got upset with her shouted questions in the Oval Office earlier in the day.
In 2019, he mocked the journalist when she pressed him on the US-Mexico border wall.
‘You ran your campaign promising supporters that Mexico is going to pay for the wall,’ Collins began before Trump interrupted her. ‘Oh here we go again,’ he said.
‘And that wall was going to be made of concrete,’ Collins continued. ‘You just said earlier that the wall could be made of steel and right now our government is shut down over a demand from your administration that the American taxpayer pay for the wall. So how can you say that you are not failing on that promise to your supporters?’
‘A very nice question so beautifully asked, even though I just answered it,’ Trump replied.
‘I just told you that we just made a trade deal. We will take in billions and billions of dollars, far more than the cost of the wall, he said.
Donald Trump and CNN’s Kaitlan Collins at the start of the town hall
Wednesday’s town hall meeting marks Trump’s first appearance for a CNN interview since before he was elected president in 2016.
And former Republican Rep. Liz Cheney, who voted for Trump’s second impeachment when she was in the House and sat on a committee looking into his actions during the January 6th insurrection, launched a television ad against him on Tuesday,
Tha ad, airing on CNN before and after the Trump town hall meeting, warning viewers that the former president ‘is a risk America can never take again.’
Cheney narrates the 60-second ad but does not appear in it. It is funded by her political action committee.
Trump’s appearance comes the day after a New York jury found him liable for sexually abusing writer E. Jean Carroll in 1996, awarding her $5 million in damages. Jurors rejected Carroll’s claim she was raped, but found Trump liable for sexual abuse and for defaming Carroll after she made her allegations public.
He’s also facing other investigations.
Trump, last month in New York, pleaded not guilty to 34 felony counts of falsifying business records tied to an alleged hush money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels.
He also faces an investigation in Georgia, where the Fulton County district attorney plans to announce charges this summer from the investigation into efforts to overturn the 2020 election in the Peach State.
Trump is under two investigations from the Justice Department: one tied to his actions trying overturn the 2020 election and one tied to the classified documents found at Mar-a-Lago.
People protest outside a building on the campus of Saint Anselm College hosting a CNN televised town hall gathering with former President Donald Trump
Trump supporters outside the hall where the town hall will take place
New Hampshire voters stand for the Pledge of Allegiance prior to a town hall starting
Protesters were waiting outside the hall
Jurors debated about three hours before coming to their verdict.
Trump chose not to attend the civil trial and was absent when the verdict was read.
But he responded in an angry post on his Truth Social platform.
‘I HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA WHO THIS WOMAN IS,’ Trump wrote in all caps on his Truth Social web site. ‘THIS VERDICT IS A DISGRACE – A CONTINUATION OF THE GREATEST WITCH HUNT OF ALL TIME!’
And his campaign said in a statement: ‘Make no mistake, this entire bogus case is a political endeavor targeting President Trump because he is now an overwhelming front-runner to be once again elected President of the United States.’
Carroll told the jury Trump attacked her inside a Bergdorf Goodman department store in 1995 or 1996, in a version of events the jury at least partly believed even as Trump was quoted as calling it a hoax.
Trump’s statement that he didn’t know the identity of Carroll came after he failed to properly identify her in a photo in what may have been a key moment of the trial.
During his videotaped deposition, Carroll lawyer Roberta Kramer had Trump look at a black and white image to identify the group, which included himself.
When asked to identify a woman in the photo, Trump responded: ‘That’s Marla, that’s my wife.’
It was only with the help of his lawyer, Alina Habba, that Trump figured out it is in fact Carroll.
‘I don’t even know who the woman. Let’s see, I don’t know who – it’s Marla,’ said Trump.
Carroll bowed her head as the verdict in the battery allegation was read out. As the defamation verdict was read she bowed it again, nodding in agreement. Afterwards she stood up and shook hands with Trump’s attorney Joe Tacopina.
Carroll left court beaming from ear to ear without making a statement to the media, but was heard saying to the crowd, ‘We’re very happy.’
Trump has been accused of sexual misconduct or assault by more than two dozen women, but this has so far been the only case to end up before a jury, casting another shadow over Trump’s 2024 Presidential campaign
Carroll, 79, sued for battery under the Adult Survivors Act, a law passed in New York that allowed a one year window for sexual assault claims normally outside of the statute of limitations.
Her claim for defamation was based on statements made by Trump, 76, when he was President in which he called her a liar.
On Wednesday morning, E. Jean took her victory lap on the morning breakfast TV shows, appearing on Good Morning America and the TODAY show.
On Wednesday morning, E. Jean took her victory lap on the morning breakfast TV shows, appearing on Good Morning America and the TODAY show
‘I feel fantastic! Yesterday was probably the greatest day of my life,’ she gleefully told ABC’S George Stephanopoulos.
Carroll said she only ever brought the action against Trump for damages after he ‘dragged her through the mud’.
‘I only decided to come forward and tell what happened. I thought that was enough.
‘Then he said terrible things about me, dragged me through the mud, ground my face in the dirt. It was horrible. So I talked to Robbie Kaplan and Robbie and I brought a lawsuit against Donald Trump.
‘And yesterday, despite prosecutors and special counsels and investigators and piling all these legal snarls up to Trump, it was this 5ft 3, wily female attorney and this elderly 79-year-old advice columnist who are finally holding Donald Trump liable.’
She continued her victory lap on NBC’s TODAY.
‘I am overwhelmed, overwhelmed with joy and happiness and delight for the women in this country.’
She believes her case ‘demolished’ the stereotype of the concept of a ‘perfect’ sexual assault victim.
‘Before yesterday there was a concept of the perfect victim, who always screams, always reports to the police, always makes notes of when it happened, and their life folds up and they’re never supposed to be happy.
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