This week, Democracy Now! is celebrating our 22nd birthday. Since our first ever show in February 1996, our daily news hour has brought you fearless journalism and hard-hitting news you can trust. Maybe you rely on our daily headlines. Maybe you come looking for the in-depth stories that expose government and corporate abuses of power. One thing you know you can count on is that Democracy Now! is always free—you'll never hit a paywall. How is this possible? Only with your support. In fact, if everyone reading this gave just $4, it would cover our operating expenses for the whole year. Right now, a generous donor will TRIPLE every donation, meaning your gift today will go three times as far. Pretty amazing, right? Please do your part. Take a moment to give right now for our 22nd birthday.
This week, Democracy Now! is celebrating our 22nd birthday. Since our first show in February 1996, our daily news hour has brought you fearless journalism and hard-hitting news you can trust--all without ads or corporate underwriting. How is this possible? Only with your support. In fact, if everyone reading this gave just $4, it would cover our operating expenses for the whole year. Right now, a generous donor will TRIPLE every donation, meaning your gift today will go three times as far. Pretty amazing, right? Please do your part. Take a moment to give right now for our 22nd birthday.
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Donald Trump is facing a barrage of accusations of sexual harassment and assault from multiple women, including a journalist, two former Miss USA beauty pageant contestants and two women who told The New York Times Trump sexually assaulted them, groping their bodies or kissing their lips without their consent. This is Jessica Leeds, speaking about sitting next to Trump on a plane in the early 1980s.
Jessica Leeds: “It was a real shock when all of a sudden his hands were all over me. He started encroaching on my space. And I hesitate to use this expression, but I’m going to. And that is, he was like an octopus. It was like he had six arms. He was all over the place. But it’s when he started putting his hand up my skirt, and that was it. That was it. I was out of there.”
The other woman who spoke to the Times, Rachel Crooks, says she ran into Trump outside an elevator at the Trump Tower in 2005. She says after the two shook hands, he kissed her cheeks multiple times and then kissed her on the mouth. She said, “I was so upset that he thought I was so insignificant that he could do that.”
Meanwhile, a former Miss USA beauty pageant contestant has told The Guardian Donald Trump walked in on her and a fellow contestant as the two were getting dressed during the pageant in 2001. She says she was changing when she heard a security officer tell someone outside the room that people were naked in the dressing room. She says Trump then “walked in, he stood and he stared. He was doing it because he knew that he could.” Donald Trump owned the Miss USA pageant at the time. Four years later, Trump boasted of walking in on beauty pageant contestants during an interview with “The Howard Stern Show.”
Donald Trump: “I’ll tell you the funniest is that I’ll go backstage before a show, and everyone’s getting dressed and ready and everything else, and, you know, no men are anywhere. And I’m allowed to go in because I’m the owner of the pageant, and therefore I’m inspecting it. You know, I’m inspecting. I want to make sure that everything is good. Yeah, the dresses. 'Is everyone OK?' You know, they’re standing there with no clothes. 'Is everybody OK?' And you see these incredible-looking women. And so, I sort of get away with things like that.”
At least two other women have also come forward to accuse Trump of sexual assault, following the release of a 2005 video in which Trump boasts about sexually assaulting women. Mindy McGillivray told the Florida newspaper The Palm Beach Post that Trump groped her while she was at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club 13 years ago. People magazine reporter Natasha Stoynoff also says Trump sexually assaulted her at the Mar-a-Lago in 2005, when she was interviewing him and Melania for a story about the first anniversary of their wedding. Stoynoff writes Trump was giving her a tour of the estate when “Trump shut the door behind us. I turned around, and within seconds he was pushing me against the wall and forcing his tongue down my throat.” She writes that he also said, “You know we’re going to have an affair, don’t you?”
This all comes as a video from a 1992 “Entertainment Tonight” Christmas special has surfaced of Trump making lewd comments about a 10-year-old girl.
Donald Trump: “Thursday night. You’re going up the elevator?”
Donald Trump: “I’m going to be dating her in 10 years. Can you believe it?”
On Tuesday, dozens of women rallied in New York City to protest Trump’s history of sexual assault.
Protester: “Misogynistic, self-serving billionaire to have power to rule over our bodies, to make decisions that will have dangerous consequences for our lives in our communities, whose hate speech will continue to stoke violence against us against women of all colors and against my Muslim, black and brown brothers and sisters. It’s Trump versus all of us. Unendorse Donald Trump!”
In a rare move in the financial world, Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf has abruptly resigned amid a massive scandal over the creation of 2 million fake accounts, which employees opened in order to meet grueling sales targets. The resignation comes only one day after The New York Times reported former Wells Fargo employees had blown the whistle on the scandal internally as early as 2005. Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren has called for Stumpf to not only resign, but be criminally investigated.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren: “You should resign. You should give back the money that you took while this scam was going on, and you should be criminally investigated by both the Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission.”
In Yemen, a U.S. warship fired missiles into Houthi-controlled territory Thursday, marking a major escalation of U.S. military involvement in the ongoing war in Yemen. The Pentagon says the missile strikes were approved by President Obama. They were targeting radar installations the Pentagon claims have been used by the Houthis in recent days to fire on a different U.S. warship, also stationed off the coast. The U.S. has already been backing the Saudi-led coalition bombing campaign against the Houthi rebels in Yemen for over a year, despite reports of civilian deaths, including the deaths of more than 140 mourners at a funeral in Sana’a over the weekend. On Tuesday, State Department spokesperson John Kirby struggled to answer questions by the Associated Press’s Matt Lee over how the U.S.-backed, Saudi-led coalition airstrikes in Yemen are different from those carried out by the Syrian and Russian governments in Aleppo.
Matt Lee: “Over the weekend, you saw there was this airstrike on a funeral by the Saudi-led coalition, and I’m just wondering: Does the administration see any difference between this kind of thing and what you accuse the Russians and the Syrians and the Iranians of doing in Syria, particularly Aleppo?”
John Kirby: “Well, yeah, I think there are some differences.”
Matt Lee: “Other than that you support the Saudi coalition and don’t support the Syrians and Russians, what are the other differences?”
John Kirby: “Well, look, there’s a couple things, Matt. Um…”
In Syria, the rescue organization Syria Civil Defense, known as the White Helmets, reports at least 25 people were killed Wednesday amid heavy airstrikes in eastern Aleppo. At least 15 people were killed after airstrikes hit a market. This comes as the Syrian and Russian governments resumed their bombing campaigns against Aleppo after a few days’ pause. We’ll have more on the war in Syria, and the White Helmets, later in the broadcast.
In Honduras, the indigenous rights organization COPINH says two of its leaders have survived assassination attempts over the last week. The group says on October 9, unknown gunmen opened fire on organizer Alexander García Sorto through the bedroom window of his home while he and his wife were sleeping. Also that night, the group says unknown gunmen opened fire on COPINH general coordinator Tomás Gómez Membreño as he drove the organization’s truck home from a meeting. Gómez’s predecessor was Berta Cáceres, the internationally known environmental activist who was murdered in March.
In Cleveland, 32-year-old transgender woman Brandi Bledsoe has been found dead with a plastic bag around her head and reports of head trauma. If her death is ruled a homicide, Bledsoe will be at least the 23rd transgender person murdered this year. 2016 is already considered the deadliest year for transgender people in the United States.
In Portland, Oregon, police deployed pepper spray against Black Lives Matter activists Wednesday, amid protests at City Hall during a vote over a controversial new police contract, which activists say gives police officers too much power during investigations over police brutality. At least 10 people were arrested as the activists repeatedly disrupted the vote and shut down streets around City Hall. An earlier version of the contract would have allowed police officers to review body camera footage before writing reports on all incidents, except involving fatal shootings. The City Council voted to approve the contract 3-1.
The winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature this year is Bob Dylan. In an announcement this morning, the Nobel Committee praised Dylan “for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition.”
In Iowa, water protectors have again temporarily shut down construction of the $3.8 billion Dakota Access pipeline, after Krissana Mara locked herself to an excavator at a worksite in Keokuk. The group Mississippi Stand says a reporter was also arrested while covering the lockdown. The proposed Dakota Access pipeline would carry fracked oil from the oilfields of North Dakota through South Dakota, Iowa and into Illinois.
And an update on our coverage of the Dakota Access pipeline and the resistance to it: Democracy Now! will be heading back to North Dakota to continue our coverage of the standoff at Standing Rock. As has been reported here and elsewhere, as a result of Democracy Now!’s reporting over Labor Day weekend last month, Amy Goodman was charged by the state of North Dakota with criminal trespass. A warrant was issued for her arrest on September 8—five days after we released video of the Dakota Access pipeline company’s security guards physically assaulting nonviolent, mostly Native American land protectors, pepper-spraying them and unleashing attack dogs, one of which was shown with blood dripping from its nose and mouth.
Water protector: “These people are just threatening all of us with these dogs. And she, that woman over there, she was charging, and it bit somebody right in the face.”
Amy Goodman: “The dog has blood in its nose and its mouth.”
Water protector: “And she’s still standing here threatening us.”
Amy Goodman: “Why are you letting their—her dog go after the protesters? It’s covered in blood!”
Goodman will be turning herself in to authorities at the Morton County jail in North Dakota on Monday morning at 8 a.m. North Dakota time and intends to vigorously fight this charge as she sees it as a direct attack on the First Amendment, freedom of the press?and the public’s right to know. More information is available at democracynow.org.