GOP senator 'regrets' saying that grabbing women by the genitals is not sexual assault

Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Alabama, claimed Monday that his views on a 2005 recording of a lewd conversation involving his party's presidential nominee were misrepresented after he was quoted as saying that the actions described on the tape didn't constitute sexual assault.

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"I better use some Tic Tacs just in case I start kissing her," GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump said in the 11-year-old video, which was obtained and published Friday by The Washington Post. "You know, I'm automatically attracted to beautiful women — I just start kissing them. It's like a magnet. Just kiss. I don't even wait. And when you're a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. … Grab them by the (expletive). You can do anything."

Speaking with The Weekly Standard after the presidential debate on Sunday, Sessions admitted that Trump used improper language but he denied that the comments described sexual assault.

According to the magazine:

SESSIONS: This was very improper language, and he's acknowledged that.

TWS: But beyond the language, would you characterize the behavior described in that (video) as sexual assault if that behavior actually took place?

SESSIONS: I don't characterize that as sexual assault. I think that's a stretch. I don't know what he meant—

TWS: So if you grab a woman by the genitals, that's not sexual assault?

SESSIONS: I don't know. It's not clear that he—how that would occur.

The senator, who has come out multiple times in support of Trump, said in a statement Monday night that the magazine mischaracterized his comments.

Explore>> Related: 'Days of Our Lives' star Arianne Zucker on lewd Donald Trump tape: 'I choose to stand tall'

"My hesitation was based solely on confusion of the contents of the 2005 tape and the hypothetical posed by the reporter, which was asked in a chaotic post-debate environment," he said. "I regret that it resulted in an inaccurate article that misrepresented my views. Of course it is crystal clear that assault is unacceptable. I would never intentionally suggest otherwise."

"Asked again by email if Sessions believes Trump was describing behavior that would constitute sexual assault, Sessions' spokesman did not provide an answer to the (question) Monday evening," The Weekly Standard reported.

Explore>> Related: Does Trump's 'locker room banter' describe sexual assault?

Trump has encountered heavy criticism since the release of the video, which captures a conversation between Trump and "Access Hollywood" host Billy Bush on the set of "Days of Our Lives." The video was caught on a hot microphone, according to The Washington Post.

The men are heard speaking in a vulgar way about women. At one point, Bush eggs on Trump as the business mogul talks about trying and failing to "move on" Bush's co-host, Nancy O'Dell. Bush even tells someone to get out of his way as the men ogle actress Arianne Zucker's legs.

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