The New York Times has challenged Donald Trump to go ahead and sue over its publication of two women's claims that the billionaire had touched them inappropriately.

Trump's lawyers demanded a "full and immediate retraction and apology" and demanded that the article be removed from the publication's website. If it did not, wrote Marc Kasowitz, Trump would have "no option but to pursue all available actions and remedies".

To which New York Times general counsel David McCraw responded: "We decline to do so." If Trump disagreed with the newspaper's decision, McCraw continued, "we welcome the opportunity to have a court set him straight".

"Nothing in our article has had the slightest effect on the reputation that Mr Trump, through his own words and actions, has already created for himself."


The threat of legal action comes after a video was released last week showing the Republican presidential nominee bragging about being able to force himself on women because he was a "star". Trump later said that it was just "locker-room talk" and that he never did those things.

The Times article spoke to a number of women who said Trump had touched them inappropriately, which Trump denied. "Your article is reckless, defamatory and constitutes libel per se," Kasowitz wrote.

"We hereby demand that you immediately cease any further publication of this article, remove it from your website and issue a full and immediate retraction and apoplogy."

Trump repeated the threats to sue at his rally in Florida. "Lawyers are doing the due diligence needed to file such a massive suit," a Trump campaign official said on condition of anonymity.

But the Times wasn't intimidated: "We stand by the story, which falls clearly into the realm of public service journalism," newspaper spokeswoman Eileen Murphy said.

McCraw's letter to Kasowitz said that the article would not be retracted.

"The women quoted in our story spoke out on an issue of national importance - indeed, an issue that Mr. Trump himself discussed with the whole nation watching during Sunday night's presidential debate," McCraw wrote. "It would have been a disservice not just to our readers but to democracy itself to silence their voices."

If Trump thought people who criticised him should be silenced, McCraw wrote, the newspaper would be happy to take the matter to court.