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Clinton Campaign Emails Slam Catholics; Two Women Accuse Trump

  • VOA News

Candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton campaign the day after their second debate.

Candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton campaign the day after their second debate.

Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign is facing more controversy stemming from thousands of hacked emails written by staffers and published by WikiLeaks.

On Wednesday, the latest batch to be publicized focuses on comments that campaign communications director Jennifer Palmieri made about Catholics in 2011.

Palmieri was exchanging emails with John Halpin, who is with the Center for American Progress — a liberal think tank with close ties to the Clinton campaign.

Halpin wrote that the country's most powerful conservatives are all Catholic and called their politics "an amazing bastardization of the faith."

FILE - Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, accompanied by traveling press secretary Nick Merrill, left, and director of communications Jennifer Palmieri, right, listens to a question from a member of the media on her campaign plane.

FILE - Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, accompanied by traveling press secretary Nick Merrill, left, and director of communications Jennifer Palmieri, right, listens to a question from a member of the media on her campaign plane.

"They must be attracted to the systematic thought and severely backwards gender relations and must be totally unaware of Christian democracy," Halpin said.

Palmieri replied by writing, "Catholicism is the most socially acceptable politically conservative religion. Their rich friends wouldn't understand if they became evangelicals."

Another 2011 email sent to current Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta from the head of a progressive group called for a "Catholic Spring," adapting the pro-democracy "Arab Spring" in the Middle East.

"There needs to be a Catholic Spring, in which Catholics themselves demand the end of a middle-ages dictatorship and the beginning of a little democracy and respect for gender equality in the Catholic Church," Voices for Progress President Sandy Newman wrote.

Republican presidential rival Donald Trump's campaign condemned the emails as "breathtaking anti-Catholic bigotry."

Trump said Wednesday that anyone of religion has to vote for him.

FILE - Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta speaks to members of the media outside Clinton's home in Washington, Oct. 5, 2016.

FILE - Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta speaks to members of the media outside Clinton's home in Washington, Oct. 5, 2016.

Link to Russia

Podesta said an FBI investigation into his leaked emails is part of a wider FBI probe into the suspected Russian hacking of Democratic Party emails — a charge that Russia denies.

Podesta alleged that longtime Trump adviser Roger Stone had "advance knowledge" of the leaks. Stone has admitted he has been in contact with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Stone also tweeted in August that WikiLeaks would attack Clinton and Podesta.

Podesta says Russia may be trying to influence the outcome of the U.S. presidential election to favor Trump, who has said he admires President Vladimir Putin.

Other leaked emails from the Democratic Party include allegations that Clinton campaign officials tried to discredit former Democratic presidential rival Bernie Sanders, and suggestions the campaign should laugh off the controversy surrounding Clinton's State Department emails.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump kisses a "Women for Trump" sign during a campaign rally in Lakeland, Florida, Oct. 12, 2016.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump kisses a "Women for Trump" sign during a campaign rally in Lakeland, Florida, Oct. 12, 2016.

Attacks on Trump

Meanwhile, Trump is facing more trouble of his own.

Two women told The New York Times that Trump sexually assaulted them after he denied during last Sunday's debate ever doing such things.

One woman said Trump grabbed her breasts and tried to put his hand up her skirt during an airplane flight in 1978. She said she ran into Trump two years later at a charity event and he started insulting her.

Another woman says she met Trump for the first time outside an elevator in his Manhattan building in 2005, and that he almost immediately started kissing her on the mouth.

The Times said Trump hollered at a reporter when questioned during a telephone interview Tuesday, accusing the newspaper of making up the story.

Also, a Florida woman tells The Palm Beach Post that Trump touched her on the buttocks in 2003 at Mar-a-Lago, a Trump-owned resort. She says the alleged encounter took place backstage after a concert.

The Trump campaign says the Post story "lacks any merit or veracity."

A leaked 2005 videotape in which Trump bragged that he could grope women because he is a "star" may have wrecked his presidential hopes, even after he apologized and said he is ashamed.

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