Second Debate Was Explosive, Even Before It Began

Screen Shot 2016-10-10 at 3.34.08 PMMAGGIE HABERMAN

Monday, October 10, 2016

Good Monday morning.
In the annals of presidential debates, the second between Donald J. Trump and Hillary Clinton will go down as one of the most savage.
Mr. Trump badly needed to stop the bleeding with voters and with elected officials, after the release of an 11-year-old audio recording in which he bragged of being able to force himself on women because he was a star.
In response, he set off several sticks of dynamite ahead of the debate by holding a news conference with three women who have previously accused Bill Clinton of sexual assaults. Mr. Trump also invited a fourth woman, who was raped in 1975 when she was 12; Mrs. Clinton was her attacker’s court-appointed lawyer.
The women then joined Mr. Trump’s family in the debate audience, sitting in the front. Mr. Trump apologized for his comments in the recording in a seemingly more humble way than he had done two days earlier, making it harder for Republican leaders like Paul D. Ryan, the speaker of the House, to sever ties. It is also likely to keep the bottom from dropping out for the Republican Party, which will have pleased some strategists aiming to hold the party’s majority in the Senate.
The move clearly rattled Mrs. Clinton, who seemed prepared but was not dominant during the debate – she let several opportunities to hammer Mr. Trump pass her by, including pointing out in detail the dozens of defections from Mr. Trump’s side in the last 48 hours.
Mr. Trump dug in to his central, most aggressive arguments against Mrs. Clinton and against his critics. He attacked the moderators. He vowed to appoint a special prosecutor if he wins the election to examine Mrs. Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was at the State Department. Throughout the night, Mr. Trump landed punches that had eluded him at the first debate, and he appeared to have the facts of the email controversy down cold.
For Mr. Trump’s base of supporters, seeing him taking the fight directly to Mrs. Clinton is likely to be a rejuvenating moment, and he articulated a case for himself as a change candidate, as advisers have argued.
But it is unclear how much Mr. Trump’s performance will attract undecided voters. And Mr. Trump has often struggled to maintain discipline for any stretch.
What’s more, one adviser, Roger Stone, had privately cautioned Mr. Trump against using Mr. Clinton’s accusers in a political context, which is what happened when one of the women endorsed him at the news conference. It was an explosive move, but one that Mr. Trump may not be able to do more than once.
Donald J. Trump and Hillary Clinton during the second presidential debate.

Doug Mills/The New York Times
By PATRICK HEALY AND JONATHAN MARTIN

Mr. Trump and Mrs. Clinton accused each other of mistreating women and signaled that the final month of the presidential race would be an ugly political brawl.

Women at a debate party on Sunday in San Francisco reacted to Donald J. Trump’s remarks.

Jim Wilson/The New York Times
NEWS ANALYSIS
By MICHAEL BARBARO AND AMY CHOZICK

Mr. Trump may have uttered words about unfair trade deals or threats to national security, but what some voters heard instead was his voice on that searing tape.

Hillary Clinton and Donald J. Trump shook hands after the presidential debate at Washington University in St. Louis on Oct. 9.

Stephen Crowley/The New York Times
By ALEXANDER BURNS

Mrs. Clinton stuck to a safe script, and Mr. Trump’s defiant performance will probably put to rest speculation that he might be forced from the presidential race.

Hillary Clinton and Donald J. Trump during the second presidential debate on Oct. 9 in St. Louis.

Doug Mills/The New York Times
By ALAN RAPPEPORT

While expectations for Mr. Trump were low, many commentators and critics said they thought that he had allayed concerns among supporters that his candidacy was finished.

Reporters for The New York Times fact-checked the statements made by Hillary Clinton and Donald J. Trump during Sunday’s presidential debate.

Hillary Clinton and Donald J. Trump at the second presidential debate in St. Louis.

Doug Mills/The New York Times

Here’s how we analyzed in real time the second presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald J. Trump.

Donald J. Trump during the second presidential debate.

Donald Trump Acknowledges Not Paying Federal Income Taxes for Years

By STEVE EDER AND MEGAN TWOHEY

The admission of using a loss to avoid future taxes came in response to a question at Sunday’s debate with Hillary Clinton.

THE MODERATORS
Anderson Cooper of CNN and Martha Raddatz of ABC News moderated the second presidential debate, on Sunday at Washington University in St. Louis.

Martha Raddatz and Anderson Cooper Steered Debate With Sharp Questions

By MICHAEL M. GRYNBAUM

The moderators of the second presidential encounter pressed for specifics, asserted facts and responded to criticism from Donald J. Trump in real time.

What Does William Weld Say? Real-Time Reaction From a LibertarianMr. Weld, the Libertarian Party’s vice-presidential nominee, chatted with us via emails throughout the debate.

Donald J. Trump addressing a rally in Pueblo, Colo., last Monday.

Donald Trump Vows Retaliation as Republicans Abandon Him

By ALEXANDER BURNS, JONATHAN MARTIN AND MAGGIE HABERMAN

Mr. Trump called the defectors “self-righteous hypocrites” and predicted their defeat at the ballot box.

From left, Kathleen Willey, Juanita Broaddrick, Donald J. Trump, Kathy Shelton and Paula Jones at a news conference in St. Louis on Sunday.

Donald Trump’s Conference With 3 Women Who Accused Bill Clinton of Sexual Assault

By LIAM STACK

Before the debate on Sunday, Mr. Trump was joined on Facebook Live by Paula Jones, Kathy Shelton and Juanita Broaddrick, who have made accusations against Bill and Hillary Clinton.

The Salt Lake Temple in Salt Lake City. Utah’s sizable Mormon population is deeply unsettled by a sense of Donald J. Trump’s moral shortcomings.

Utah’s Top Mormons in ‘All-Out Revolt’ Against Donald Trump

By MICHAEL SCHWIRTZ

Outrage among Republicans about Mr. Trump has allowed Democrats to contemplate what was once unthinkable: taking the state for Hillary Clinton in November.

Supporters watched from the back of the hall as the Republican presidential candidate, Donald J. Trump, spoke at a campaign event in Novi, Mich., last month.

Damon Winter/The New York Times
MEDIATOR
By JIM RUTENBERG

Mr. Trump deftly used the blending of news and entertainment to build a brand, and then a campaign. But all that drama has turned into a big, messy show.

Donald J. Trump on a television in an Atlanta bar last month.

Branden Camp/Associated Press.
By JOHN KOBLIN AND MICHAEL M. GRYNBAUM

Top NBC officials learned early last week of the video of Donald J. Trump making vulgar remarks about women. But it was The Washington Post that broke the story.

What You May Have Missed

Donald J. Trump at a campaign rally in Manheim, P.A., last week.

Mark Makela for The New York Times
By ALEXANDER BURNS, MAGGIE HABERMAN AND JONATHAN MARTIN

A vulgar discussion recorded in 2005 on a soap opera set added to evidence that Mr. Trump has a record of sexist behavior.

Donald J. Trump remained in Trump Tower in New York for almost all of Friday and Saturday.

Spencer Platt/Getty Images
By MAGGIE HABERMAN

Shunned by many Republicans over his lewd comments about women, Mr. Trump spent most of Friday and Saturday at his headquarters, as his advisers pondered his next steps.

What We’re Reading Elsewhere