The Latest: Trump says 'it would be very easy to apologize'

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the U.S. presidential race (all times EDT): 9:35 p.m. Donald Trump says "it would be very easy to apologize" to a woman who accused him of sexual assault — but he won't do anything that seems like an admission of guilt. Trump says, "You can't apologize for an...

              Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally, Monday, Oct. 17, 2016, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the U.S. presidential race (all times EDT):

9:35 p.m.

Donald Trump says "it would be very easy to apologize" to a woman who accused him of sexual assault — but he won't do anything that seems like an admission of guilt.

Trump says, "You can't apologize for an event that never took place."

The Republican presidential nominee said in an interview with Fox News on Monday, "These events never took place,"

Several women have accused Trump recently of unwanted advances and sexual assault. He has steadfastly denied the accusations and says the women either support his opponent Hillary Clinton or are seeking some degree of fame.


9:30 p.m.

Donald Trump is suggesting that House Speaker Paul Ryan has been undermining his campaign because he may be plotting his own White House run in 2020.

Trump speculated in an interview Monday with ABC that Ryan either didn't "know how to win" or "he wants to run in four years."

The Republican nominee has been sharply critical of Ryan since the speaker suggested earlier this month that he would do little to help Trump's campaign.

Trump appeared in Ryan's home state of Wisconsin on Monday, and many in the crowd chanted "Paul Ryan sucks."

Trump also claimed Ryan has not been supportive in investigating voter fraud, which the celebrity businessman had deemed a widespread problem without producing any evidence.


9 p.m.

Melania Trump is suggesting that, as First Lady, she could be interested in leading an effort to combat bullying and negativity on social media.

Mrs. Trump - whose husband frequently uses social media to attack opponents - said in an interview Monday on CNN that she was worried about its impact on children.

She said she is concerned that her 10-year-old son Barron would be exposed to tough talk on Twitter and other social media platforms.

Donald Trump, of course, is frequently combative on Twitter.

Just earlier Monday, he took to the social media platform to unleash attacks on both sides of the aisle, targeting both Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and House Speaker Paul Ryan and claiming the "dishonest" media was conspiring against him.


8:35 p.m.

Donald Trump is claiming he'll "end government corruption" if he's elected to the White House.

The GOP nominee is adding to his ethics reform proposals at a rowdy Wisconsin rally. The push comes as he seeks to draw attention to the revelations contained in a rolling stream of hacked emails that contain unflattering information about his rival Hillary Clinton.

Trump says he wants to ban executive branch officials from lobbying the government for five years after they leave the White House — and wants Congress to do the same for members and their staffs.

He also wants to expand the definition of lobbyist and is calling for a lifetime ban on senior executive branch officials lobbying on behalf of foreign governments.


8:24 p.m.

Donald Trump is insisting without evidence that voter fraud poses a significant threat to the integrity of the U.S. electoral system. He's telling supporters at a rally in Green Bay, Wisconsin, that the Nov. 8 election could be rigged "at the polling booths" despite experts' insistence to the contrary.

Trump is pointing to isolated reports of dead people voting and claiming that a significant number of people living in the country illegally are registered vote.

He went as far as to claim that non-citizens could have been responsible for President Barack Obama's victory in North Carolina in 2008 — despite the fact that there is no evidence that's true.

He's mocking people who dismiss the problem as lacking street smarts.


8:03 p.m.

Donald Trump says that new FBI records reveal "a criminal act" that he says is worse than Watergate.

FBI records released earlier Monday show that a senior State Department official asked the FBI to help last year in reducing the classification of an email from Hillary Clinton's private server. It was to be part of a bargain that would have allowed the FBI to deploy more agents in foreign countries, according to the records.

It was not clear from the documents who suggested the deal. The FBI ultimately rejected the request.

Trump tells a rally crowd in Green Bay, Wisconsin that, "This is one of the great miscarriages of justice in the history of our country."

Trump accuses the State Department of "trying to cover up Hillary's crimes of sending classified information on a server our enemies could easily access."

The FBI determined that there were no grounds for prosecuting Clinton for her email use.


7:53 p.m.

The crowd at Donald Trump's rally in Green Bay, Wisconsin, is breaking into chants of "Paul Ryan sucks!" before Trump takes the stage.

The Republican House Speaker, who represents Wisconsin, has been highly critical of his party's nominee, saying he plans to spend his time campaigning for Republican congressional candidates and not Trump.

The hostility between the pair underscores Trump's toxic relationship with many members of his own party.

The man introducing Trump, Wisconsin GOP Chairman Brad Courtney, was briefly drowned by the chant.

Trump's crowd is also expressing its anger at the media with frequent chants of "CNN sucks!"


7:30 p.m.

Melania Trump says she does not believe the women accusing her husband of sexual assault.

She tells Fox News Channel in an interview broadcast Monday that the allegations are "not true," and says these accusations are not the first she's heard.

Her message to the women claiming that the Republican presidential nominee kissed and groped them without permission?

She says, "All the allegations should be handled in a court of law."


6:48 p.m.

Donald Trump says if he wins the White House, he might meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin before his inauguration.

Trump says in a Monday interview with talk radio host Michael Savage that if he defeats Democrat Hillary Clinton, he could see himself "meeting with Putin and meeting with Russia prior to the start of the administration."

Trump has been criticized repeatedly for his seemingly cozy relationship with Russia.

But he says the tension between Putin and President Barack Obama is "a potentially catastrophic situation."

Trump says Russia "insult(s) him constantly," adding, "No wonder he can't stand Obama and Hillary Clinton."

Trump also said in the interview that Clinton has a "highly over-rated intellect."


5:40 p.m.

Donald Trump's wife says that her husband was "egged on" by then-'Access Hollywood' host Billy Bush in lewd 2005 footage in which he brags about groping women.

Melania Trump tells CNN's Anderson Cooper that the pair were engaged in "boy talk, and he was led on, like, egged on, from the host to say dirty and bad stuff."

But she says the remarks were "inappropriate" and "not acceptable" and that she "was surprise because that is not the man that I know."

Mrs. Trump has been a relatively silent throughout the campaign, but sat down for rare interviews with Fox and CNN on Monday.


5:12 p.m.

Donald Trump's campaign is demanding that a senior State Department official resign after FBI records revealed that he asked the bureau to help last year in reducing the classification of an email from Hillary Clinton's private server.

Jason Miller, Trump's senior communications adviser, claimed Monday that Undersecretary for Management Patrick Kennedy showed "a cavalier attitude toward protecting our nation's secrets."

State Department spokesman Mark Toner said Monday that Kennedy isn't going anywhere.

Kennedy's request was to be part of a bargain that would have allowed the FBI to deploy more agents in foreign countries, according to the records.

It was not immediately clear who first broached the idea.

The bureau records, citing an FBI official whose name was censored, said Kennedy sought assistance in exchange for a "quid pro quo." But the FBI's separate statement said it was the now-retired FBI official who first asked Kennedy about deploying more agents overseas.


4:15 p.m.

Donald Trump's wife says she's forgiven crude remarks her husband made in 2005 bragging about coming on to married women and groping anyone he pleased.

Melania Trump said that her husband's comments "were offensive to me and they were inappropriate." But she said he has apologized and "we are moving on."

Mrs. Trump spoke to Fox News in an interview airing Tuesday.

The GOP nominee's spouse also said it's fair for her husband's campaign and the press to bring up decades-old allegations against Hillary Clinton's husband, former President Bill Clinton.

She said: "Well, if they bring up my past, why not?"

"They're asking for it," she added. It's not clear which "they" she was referring to. Racy photos of Mrs. Trump from her modeling days surfaced during the Republican primary campaign.


2:30 p.m.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest is dismissing GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump's concerns about the Nov. 8 election being rigged against him.

Earnest said Monday there have been similar fears about rigging in the past. But studies and investigations have found no evidence of widespread voter fraud.

Earnest noted that several battleground states have Republican governors, and presumably all of those governors have confidence in their states' ability to manage the election fairly.

He said President Barack Obama is "very confident" in the ability and honesty of election officials from both parties to ensure the election is conducted freely and fairly.


2:25 p.m.

The top Democrats on Capitol Hill are calling on their Republican counterparts to "affirm the fairness" of next month's election. That's in the wake of GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump's unsubstantiated claims that the election is "rigged."

The call came from House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and top Senate Democrat Harry Reid on Monday.

They accuse House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of "complicity" in Trump's charges because they are failing to speak out against them. In fact, Ryan spokeswoman AshLee Strong has issued a statement saying that the speaker is "fully confident" in the integrity of the election.

McConnell, who has kept quiet during many Trump controversies, has not weighed in.


2:15 p.m.

Hillary Clinton's campaign is responding to the revelation that a State Department official had asked the FBI for help last year in reducing the classification level of an email from her private server.

Clinton spokesman Brian Fallon said there was strong disagreement among government agencies about the decisions to retroactively classify material that had been sent to the then-secretary of state. He said Clinton's campaign played no part in that debate.

According to FBI records released Monday, Undersecretary for Management Patrick Kennedy sought the reclassification as part of a proposal that would have allowed the FBI to deploy more agents to Iraq. It was not immediately clear whether Kennedy or the FBI first suggested the proposed bargain.

The FBI and the State Department say no such deal occurred.


2:10 p.m.

Mike Pence says respectful vigilance is the best way to prevent a "rigged election" — a prospect his running mate Donald Trump has raised without proof.

The Republican vice presidential candidate said at a Monday rally in Cincinnati, Ohio that "voter fraud cannot be tolerated." He says too high a price was paid for the right to vote.

But Pence urged those who monitor polling sites to do so "respectfully" to ensure an "outcome we can all be proud of."

Trump has said - without evidence - that the election will be "rigged" in Democrat Hillary Clinton's favor.

Pence says the media is "rigging the election" by writing critical stories of Trump. But he has stopped short of suggesting voter fraud will have an impact on the result.


2 p.m.

Congressman John Lewis says the Nov. 8 presidential election will be a fair one that "we are all going to be very proud of all across the country."

The Georgia Democrat made the comment in response to Republican Donald Trump's unsubstantiated claim that the election will be "rigged."

Lewis is no stranger to ballot access issues. He was beaten as he peacefully demonstrated for ballot access during the civil rights movement.

Lewis said Trump is "fanning the flames of division," adding that "It's unfortunate he is saying that before we have even voted."

He commented Monday before he cast his ballot on the first day of early voting in Georgia.


1:55 p.m.

The White House is responding to a fire set at a local Republican Party headquarters in North Carolina, saying there is no justification for the use of violence to advance a political agenda.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said in Monday's briefing that no one benefits from vandalism and violence.

Investigators say someone someone torched the Orange County Republican Party headquarters last weekend by throwing a flammable device through a window.

Earnest said President Barack Obama has consistently praised political activists who have sought to overcome significant differences through the use of non-violent tactics.

He noted that some Democrats are trying to raise money to rebuild the office.


1:35 p.m.

Bill Clinton says once the election is over, his wife's supporters should reach out to Donald Trump's voters.

The former president said Democrats should not treat Donald Trump supporters the way they and their nominee have treated Hillary Clinton backers.

He was speaking Monday at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire.

Clinton said many Trump supporters have reason to feel alienated, but their anger will not take them where they want to go.

Clinton did not address Trump's attempts to make an issue of the ex-president's sexual history in the campaign.


1:25 p.m.

Democrat Hillary Clinton is buying television advertising time in Republican-dominated Texas, hoping to tighten the presidential race in America's largest conservative state.

Clinton's campaign said Monday that a 30-second commercial will air for one week in Austin, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio, while also appearing online. Its cost wasn't released.

The ad touts the Dallas Morning News' endorsement of Clinton — the first time the newspaper backed a Democrat for president since 1940.

Texas hasn't voted Democratic in a presidential race since Jimmy Carter in 1976. The Republicans, meanwhile, haven't lost a statewide office in Texas since 1994, the nation's longest political winning streak.

Some polls suggest the Texas race between Clinton and Donald Trump is getting closer. Texas' top Republicans leaders continue to vocally back Trump.


1:10 p.m.

Donald Trump's campaign is seizing on newly released FBI records as evidence of collusion within the Obama administration to protect Hillary Clinton.

The records released Monday show that a senior State Department official asked for the FBI's help last year to change the classification level of an email from Clinton's private server. In a proposed bargain, State would have allowed the FBI to deploy more agents in foreign countries.

The FBI ultimately rejected the request.

Trump adviser retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn said in a statement that the documents "provide undeniable proof" that Clinton colluded with the FBI, Justice Department and State Department "to cover up criminal activity at the highest levels."

He said Clinton "has recklessly put our national security at extreme risk."


11:25 a.m.

Hillary Clinton's campaign is expanding into states Democrats haven't won in decades. That's a sign of confidence in her standing in the presidential race and increased focus on winning control of the Senate.

Campaign manager Robby Mook said Monday that Clinton's campaign is putting an additional $2 million in Arizona television ads, direct mail and digital spots to help Democrats up and down the ballot.

First lady Michelle Obama will campaign in Phoenix on Thursday.

Clinton's campaign is also putting an additional $1 million into efforts in Missouri and Indiana. They're expanding already existing operations by $6 million in seven battleground states.

Mook says Democrats expect the biggest voter turnout in "election history."


11:15 a.m.

Former Attorney General Eric Holder will lead a new alliance of Democrats looking to boost the party's chances of redrawing congressional and state legislative districts.

Both parties are trying to position themselves ahead of the 2020 Census. Whichever party controls state capitols in 2021 can gain an upper hand in redrawing congressional and state legislative districts for the decade to come.

Republicans currently control 69 of America's 99 state legislative chambers. That's a historic high, and now Democrats are trying to use Donald Trump's unpopularity to wrest control of as many as a dozen state legislatures.

Holder will chair the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, a newly created alliance of Democratic leaders, unions and progressive groups with a goal of boosting Democrats' chances in time for the 2021 redistricting.


10:50 a.m.

FBI documents show a senior State Department staffer sought to change the classification level of an email from Hillary Clinton's private server.

The FBI on Monday released 100 more pages from its now-closed investigation into whether the Democratic presidential nominee mishandled sensitive government information.

According to the notes, in 2015, State Department Under Secretary for Management Patrick F. Kennedy contacted an FBI official whose name was redacted.

Kennedy asked that the FBI's classification level on an email related to the 2012 attacks on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, be changed. Kennedy said that would ensure the document would be archived, "never to be seen again."

The FBI did not change the classification level. The Associated Press reported about the secret Benghazi-related email in May 2015


9:20 a.m.

Donald Trump is calling Republican leaders "naive" for dismissing his claims of a rigged election and urging his supporters to "come together and win this election."

His comments came in a series of tweets Monday.

There is no evidence voter fraud is a widespread problem in the United States. House Speaker Paul Ryan says he is confident the election will be conducted with integrity.

On Sunday, Trump's running mate, Mike Pence said Trump's claims of a rigged election refer to media bias.

Trump tweeted on Monday: "Of course there is large scale voter fraud happening on and before election day. Why do Republican leaders deny what is going on? So naive!"


9:15 a.m.

Donald Trump says he can't believe allegations of sexual assault are affecting his campaign. And he is pointing to Vice President Joe Biden as he defends himself.

Biden has never been accused of sexual improprieties. But he has raised eyebrows during media events for his lingering embraces of women.

Trump linked Monday to a video montage of Biden's awkward moments. He also tweeted: "Can't believe these totally phoney stories, 100% made up by women (many already proven false) and pushed big time by press, have impact!"

Trump has denied allegations by several women that he groped them or kissed them without their consent. That followed the release of a 2005 video in which he boasted that "you can do anything" when you're a star.


3:20 a.m.

Donald Trump's top supporters are racing to explain that what Trump said or tweeted isn't what he meant — especially on his claim without evidence that the Nov. 8 presidential election is "rigged" in Democrat Hillary Clinton's favor.

Trump's running mate Mike Pence said Sunday they'll "absolutely accept the results of the election."

But Trump is continuing to warn, without evidence, about vote fraud.

After Pence spoke, Trump tweeted: "The election is absolutely being rigged by the dishonest and distorted media pushing Crooked Hillary - but also at many polling places - SAD."