A defiant Donald Trump has gone on the offensive against Hillary Clinton and her husband as he sought to deflect fallout from obscene remarks he made about women.
The Republican presidential nominee tweeted a link yesterday to an interview with Juanita Broaddrick, whose lawsuit against Bill Clinton accusing him of rape was dismissed in 2001.
Criminal charges were never filed. Mr Clinton has denied the allegations.
Mr Trump’s risky move, hours before a critical presidential debate, came as he tried to save a flailing campaign facing unprecedented opposition from within his own party. More than two dozen Republican office holders have declared since his sexual advances on women were revealed in a recording on Friday that they will not vote for Mr Trump.
Mr Trump’s attack on Mr Clinton’s past was backed by former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, who equated Mr Trump’s latest controversy to the actions of Mrs Clinton in the 1990s when her husband struggled through the fallout of his own sexual transgressions.
Over the objections of CNN anchor Jake Tapper, Mr Giuliani insisted that Mrs Clinton “was the leader of the attack” against women who made accusations against Mr Clinton.
Support for the businessman was scarce among prominent Republicans following Friday’s release of the 2005 videotape. Mr Trump’s running mate, Indiana governor Mike Pence, declared he could not defend the remarks.
Other Republicans revoked support for their party’s nominee, including Ohio Senator Rob Portman, New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte - both are running for re-election - and the party’s 2008 nominee, Arizona Senator John McCain.
Mr Trump called his detractors “self-righteous hypocrites” on Sunday on Twitter: “Watch their poll numbers – and elections – go down!”
In the video, Mr Trump, who was married to his current wife at the time, is heard describing attempts to have sex with a married woman.
He also says that when you are a star “you can do anything”.
Mr Trump adds seconds later: “Grab them by the p****. You can do anything.”
He said of his impulse to kiss beautiful women: “I don’t even wait.”
In Britain, Mr Trump’s comments were branded “utterly crass” by Education Secretary Justine Greening. Interim Ukip leader Nigel Farage said the Republican candidate’s remarks amounted to “alpha male boasting”.