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Trump brands woman’s claim of two-minute Trump Tower smooch fake news

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An Ohio woman’s claim that Donald Trump stole a long and unwelcome kiss from her in the lobby of Trump Tower some 13 years ago is fake news, the president declared Tuesday.

Rachel Crooks, 35, who is running for office in Ohio as a Democrat, told her story most recently to the Washington Post, which published it Tuesday on the front page. She claimed the then-real estate mogul spied her by the elevators at his signature building as she waited to go upstairs to her job as a secretary for an investment firm.

“He took hold of my hand and held me in place like this,” Crooks told the paper, in a story she had previously told to The New York Times during the 2016 presidential campaign. “He started kissing me on one cheek, then the other cheek. He was talking to me in between kisses, asking where I was from, or if I wanted to be a model. He wouldn’t let go of my hand, and then he went right in and started kissing me on the lips.”

Trump blasted back Tuesday, saying he doesn’t know Crooks — and has never been in the habit of kissing women in the lobby of his very-public office and residential tower.

“A woman I don’t know and, to the best of my knowledge, never met, is on the FRONT PAGE of the Fake News Washington Post saying I kissed her (for two minutes yet) in the lobby of Trump Tower 12 years ago,” Trump tweeted. “Never happened! Who would do this in a public space with live security…cameras running. Another False Accusation.”

The Washington Post cited emails Crooks allegedly sent on the day of the incident, including one to her mother in which she alluded to a “weird incident with Mr. Trump.”

Crooks’ account is the latest of more than a dozen in which women claim Trump made advances at them, with some dating back to the 1980s. Accusers include a reality-TV host, a runner-up on “The Apprentice,” a yoga instructor and an adult-film star. 

The West facing side of Trump Tower on 5th Avenue in New York City is seen April 26, 2017. Picture Taken April 26, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Segar - RC1CCC2E4CB0

The kiss allegedly happened in the lobby of Trump’s iconic building

The claims have gained renewed attention after Trump lawyer Michael Cohen acknowledged he paid former porn star Stormy Daniels $130,000 in 2016. 

Trump claims the accusations were all made for political reasons, and lawyer Lisa Bloom, who has represented several women who claim to have been sexually harassed by Trump, has admitted that her firm offered to pay some of the women.

Crooks is now employed as a recruiter at Heidelberg University, in Tiffin, Ohio. She is running for a seat in the Ohio legislature.

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Robert Buckland explodes at David Lammy over 'inappropriate' comment 'I'll take NO lecture

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ROBERT BUCKLAND delivered a brutal slapdown of David Lammy’s “inappropriate” intervention in the House of Commons during a heated debated on the latest justice and prisons reform proposed by the Government.

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Ohio judge blows up GOP plan to allow only 1 ballot box in each county

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COLUMBUS, Ohio — A directive that restricted Ohio counties to one ballot drop box in November was arbitrary and unreasonable, a county judge ruled Tuesday, delivering the Republican secretary of state in the presidential battleground another in a series of blows to his policies.

The office of Secretary of State Frank LaRose said he would soon appeal the decision by Franklin County Common Pleas Judge Richard Frye, assuming the judge follows through and invalidates the secretary’s drop-box order.

For now, Frye’s ruling doesn’t change anything, LaRose spokesperson Maggie Sheehan said in a written statement, “and the Secretary’s directive remains in place.”

Access to ballot drop boxes has become an urgent matter nationally, with in-person voting options restricted by the coronavirus pandemic and the efficiency and security of mail-in voting questioned amid cutbacks at the U.S. Postal Service.

It is often the largely Democratic urban counties — such as Cuyahoga, home to Cleveland — that look to expand the number of drop boxes. Cuyahoga must serve more than 860,000 registered voters with only a single drop box under LaRose’s order.

The Ohio Democratic Party and a coalition of voting rights group sued LaRose last month over the directive, calling it unconstitutional. It prohibited election boards from installing more than one drop box located at the county board of elections, effectively holding the boxes to the number lawmakers made available in Ohio’s presidential primary.

LaRose cited a state election law that says absentee ballots must be “delivered by mail or personally” to a voter’s county election director. He has said that he personally supports counties adding more drop boxes, but that he lacks the legal authority to expand the number beyond the one established in law.

But Frye said the wording of the law makes “deliver” ambiguous: “It does not squarely answer whether drop boxes are permitted, or if so how many boxes may be used, or where they may be located by a board of elections.”

Because the law is vague, Frye said, counties must be legally permitted to explore placing additional boxes.

“While the secretary has broad discretion to issue Directives and otherwise guide local boards of elections, his actions must be reasonable to be legally enforceable,” Frye wrote. “Wholly arbitrary rules are entitled to no deference.”

In response to the ruling, state Democratic Party Chairman David Pepper called for LaRose to rise to the occasion.

“It’s time for the Secretary of State to do what he has told the public and officials that he would do,” Pepper tweeted. “No more delays. No more appeals. No more wasted time.”

The drop box decision was the third issue to confront LaRose since Friday, when a county judge ordered him to allow voters to apply for absentee ballots for the November presidential election by electronic means, including by fax or email. That decision was stayed Saturday as an appeal proceeds.

On Monday, fellow Republicans on the powerful state Controlling Board voted against LaRose’s proposal to use funds from his office’s Business Services budget to pay for postage on every mail-in ballot in the state.

Meanwhile, in Wisconsin, election clerks across the presidential battleground state rushed to mail absentee ballots Tuesday, less than 24 hours after the state Supreme Court lifted a temporary freeze on sending them while it considered a legal challenge.

“Oh, we’re busy,” said Wendy Helgeson, the Town of Greenville clerk who also serves as president of the Wisconsin Municipal Clerks Association.

More than 1,850 clerks in municipalities big and small were working to meet a Thursday deadline in state law to mail ballots to the more than 1 million voters who had requested them so far. Absentee ballots can be requested until Oct. 29, but election officials have urged voters to act more quickly given the expected large numbers and delays with the mail.

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'Sanctions? No! Actions? No!' Guy Verhofstadt loses it in European Parliament outburst

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EU chief Guy Verhofstad lost his cool as he addressed his colleagues and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in the European Parliament on Wednesday.

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