If you only read one thing: Donald Trump's campaign is reeling Saturday from the revelation of a decade-old video in which he appeared to suggest that his celebrity status gave him license to sexually assault women without repercussion. Friday's bombshell marked an 'October surprise' of monumental proportion, as Trump is seen and heard lewdly described his attempted sexual exploits. Coming just two days before the second presidential debate, the fallout from the comments is only just beginning to become clear. In what has become a familiar pattern, Republican lawmakers and party officials were quick to condemn the statements as inexcusable, though only a handful have rescinded their endorsements. Several Republicans who have not endorsed Trump called on him to step aside as the nominee for the good of the party, as GOP operatives said they are growing increasingly concerned about an Election Day rout. The comments led Speaker of the House Paul Ryan to disinvite the GOP nominee from a planned unity fundraiser and rally in Wisconsin Saturday.
Trump released an early-morning video Saturday in which he apologized for the comments—just hours after apologizing only for causing offense with what he termed "locker room banter." But the bizarre statement, in which he called his past comments a "distraction" and suggested he's grown as a person since then, also featured the GOP nominee try to redirect the focus onto Hillary and Bill Clinton. The elongated response was notable nonetheless, as Trump has been loathe to admit even the slightest of wrongs throughout the campaign, and reflects the dire threat the unearthed video poses to his presidential prospects.
Hillary Clinton's campaign spent the hours after the video release on the sidelines, allowing Republican condemnations of Trump to continue unimpeded. The video overshadowed apparent revelations about Clinton's private speeches to bankers in hacked emails published by Wikileaks. And Democratic Party officials called out their rivals across the aisle for refusing to back off their support of Trump.
Despite their statements expressing shock and horror at Trump's comments, Republicans always knew—or should have known—that such a video could be out there. Throughout his career, Trump has displayed little shame in making offensive comments about women—often in strikingly crude terms—and his campaign has been defined as much by his insults to broad swaths of the electorate as by his outsider appeal.
Here are your must reads:
How a Leaked Tape of Donald Trump Bragging About Groping Women Changed the 2016 Race
An epic 24 hours on the campaign trail [TIME]
Donald Trump’s Lewd Comments Send Republicans Reeling
"I am sickened," says House Speaker Paul Ryan [TIME]
Donald Trump Calls Lewd Comments 'Distraction' As He Attacks the Clintons
A rare apology [TIME]
What Leaked Emails Reveal About Hillary Clinton’s Campaign
A glimpse into the inner workings of the Clinton campaign [TIME]
“And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything...Grab them by the p—y. You can do anything.” — Donald Trump in newly revealed video, first published by the Washington Post
“I am sickened by what I heard today. Women are to be championed and revered, not objectified. I hope Mr. Trump treats this situation with the seriousness it deserves and works to demonstrate to the country that he has greater respect for women than this clip suggests.” — Speaker of the House Paul Ryan as he announced Trump was disinvited from his unity rally in Wisconsin.
"I’ve said some foolish things, but there’s a big difference between the words and actions of other people. Bill Clinton has actually abused women, and Hillary has bullied, attacked, shamed and intimidated his victims.” —Donald Trump in a bizarre apology video released early Saturday
Bits and Bites
U.S. Accuses Russia of Directing Election System Hacks [Associated Press]