Trump's 'you'd be in jail' jibe was only a joke, claims his campaign manager... but threat to sic Special Prosecutor on Clinton was deadly serious
- Campaign managers for Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton had dueling interviews on Monday morning talk shows following Sunday's debate
- Trump chief Kellyanne Conway called her boss's performance 'masterful' and said he kept Clinton off-balance with a parade of her husband's former sex-abuse accusers
- Mook insisted Clinton won on substance and wasn't rattled at all
- Conway dismissed as a harmless 'quip' Trump's assertion that if he won the White House Clinton would be 'in jail' for her classified email problems
- But she said the 'special prosecutor' he mentioned was a reflection of frustration felt by Americans about treatment of Hillary Clinton
- See more US election news following the second presidential debate
Donald Trump's campaign manager began Tuesday doing victory laps after what she called a clear win by the Republican nominee during Monday night's presidential debate against Hillary Clinton - and described his 'you'd be in jail' remark as a 'quip'.
But she did not back down on his threat to appoint a special prosecutor to go after Clinton on her secret email server, saying he was channeling the 'frustration' felt by ordinary Americans about how it had been handled.
'We're just so pleased with Mr. Trump and the debate last night,' she said on MSNBC's 'Morning Joe' program. 'That was a masterful performance.'
Co-host Joe Scarborough agreed that Sunday marked 'Donald Trump's most effective debate performance.'
Trump was able to stop the bleeding after a tumultuous weekend brought on by an 11-year-old audiotape of him denigrating women in a lewd conversation with an 'Access Hollywood' anchor.
He pulled it off by inviting to the debate a group of three women who say Clinton cowed them into silence after Bill Clinton sexually abused them, and a fourth whose rapist Hillary Clinton has laughed about defending.
'He took the case right to Hillary Clinton from the very beginning,' Conway said, referring to Trump's Jiu-jitsu move.
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Support'We're just so pleased with Mr. Trump and the debate last night,' Conway said on MSNBC's 'Morning Joe' program. 'That was a masterful performance.'
Attack: Conway said on the MSNBC show that Clinton's team knew they had lost and were 'trying
'I hear her team really trying to spin the heck out of it last night and this morning ... I don't think it was her best night. She seemed very much off her game and rattled.'
Conway reminded viewers that an uncharacteristically contrite Trump met the 2005 audio head-on with a series of mea culpas.
'I'm so pleased that Donald Trump apologized. ... He did it on Friday night and then he did it last night again – publicly and humbly – and that matters to people,' she told Morning Joe co-host Mika Brzezinski.
'And then of course, Mika, he said there's a huge difference between words and actions. And let's make very clear, that is specifically why he raised how Hillary Clinton has treated many of these women over the years. She has attacked them, she has shamed them, she has blamed them. And it's always – somehow always the woman's fault. And he's making the distinction between words and actions.'
Scarborough recounted 'all of this bad reporting' that swirled around the Trump campaign since Friday evening, much of it speculating on whether or not the candidate and his running mate Mike Pence would survive the weekend.
Is Conway quitting? 'False.' she said. 'Really bad reporting by NBC News, by the way.'
Is Pence abandoning Trump? 'False,' Conway said again. 'He's on his way to North Carolina today, and has a full slate of events. Go ahead and look them up.'
And will the Republican party find an alternative to Trump? 'Oh-for-three!' she exclaimed.
Conway also defended Trump's offhand comment on debate night that if he won the White House, Hillary Clinton 'would be in jail' for crimes related to her classified email scandal, following the appointment of an impartial independent prosecutor.
'That was a quip,' she said when pressed about whether Trump would stand by the remark.
'I saw in NBC's own reporting it was referred to as "a quip", so I'll go with NBC on it.'
Complaint: Robbie Mook, Clinton's campaign manager, called the Trump move to unveil the four women who allege they were abused by Bill Clinton 'a stunt'
'Quip': Conway said Trump's 'you'd be in jail' comment was simply a joke
'As for the special prosecutor,' Conway added, 'I think that's Donald Trump channeling the frustration he hears from thousands of voters out on the stump every day.'
And they're very frustrated that she has a different set of rules for her. ... whether she goes to jail is not up to Donald Trump. It's up to whoever adjudicates whatever crime she has or has not committed.'
On NBC's 'Today' show, Conway batted back co-host Savannah Guthrie's demand for further apologies related to Friday's audio bombshell.
'He did that. You just played the clip! You just played the clip, Savannah,' she said.
'Respectfully, you just played the clip of him saying, "I was embarrassed, I hated it, I didn't like it, I've apologized to my family, and I've apologized to the American people." And then he talked about the difference between words and actions, and the way Hillary Clinton treated these women.'
Conway pushed back against Guthrie's claim that Trump had set up a false equivalence by contrasting his own behavior with that of Bill Clinton, who served two terms in the White House but is no longer on the ballot.
'This does not have to do with Bill Clinton,' she said. 'It has to do with how Hillary Clinton shamed and blamed the women in Bill Clinton's life.'
She also highlighted the case of Kathy Shelton, the Arkansas woman who was violently raped at age 12 by a man Hillary Clinton represented in court – and later giggled about helping beat the system.
'That has nothing to do with Bill Clinton. It was Hillary Rodham Clinton who –' Conway got out before Guthrie interrupted her.
Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton shakes hands at the end of the second presidential debate in St Louis, Missouri, on Sunday
Republican nominee Donald Trump (left) is pictured speaking during Sunday's debate, while Hillary Clinton leans on a chair (right)
Melania Trump is seen walking away from the stage after the conclusion of the second presidential debate on Sunday night
Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook was on 'CBS This Morning' and NBC's 'Today' show to push back – bristling at Trump's tactics and regarding the women from the Clintons' past as 'those individuals.'
'Hillary came to this debate to talk about the issues, to talk about the policies and plans that she has that are going to make a difference in people's lives,' he said on NBC.
'Donald Trump came to try to rescue his spiraling campaign.'
'He wanted to throw a lot of mud, throw Hillary off her game and make this campaign about something else and someone else,' he said.
'Unfortunately, he doubled down on his non-apology for what he said in that video that came out last Friday. He didn't even seem to take the matter very seriously. He called it "locker room talk," didn't acknowledge the severity of the situation.
'And then he pulled a stunt where he brought those individuals in to do a Facebook Live event before the debate,' Mook complained.
'Hillary's steady, she's strong. She's not going to get thrown off her game. That's what Donald Trump tried to do, and he failed.'
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