WASHINGTON - Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's campaign manager has accused her Republican rival Donald Trump of trying to "undermine" the Nov. 8 by insisting that the election was rigged.

"This election will have record turnout, because voters see through Donald Trump's shameful attempts to undermine an election weeks before it happens," Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook said.

Mook's comments came in response to Trump's recent arguments that reports of him harassing women were false and an attempt to rig the election in favour of Clinton. "Campaigns should be hard-fought and elections hard-won, but what is fundamental about the American electoral system is that it is free, fair and open to the people," Mook said. "Participation in the system — and particularly voting — should be encouraged, not dismissed or undermined because a candidate is afraid he's going to lose."

The charges about a rigged election have gotten louder recently following Trump's performance in the first two presidential debates, the release of a video showing him speaking in crude and vulgar terms about women, and reports that he sexually harassed other women.

With Trump White House campaign in chaos over snowballing accusations of sexual assault,he has cast himself as the victim of a "smear campaign" and further escalated his attacks on his rival heading into the final weeks of the race.

"Hillary is running for president in what looks like a rigged election," he told a fired-up rally in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. "The election is being rigged by corrupt media pushing completely false allegations and outright lies in an effort to elect her president." Trump tweeted out a similar allegation earlier today to his 12 million followers, charging: "Hillary Clinton should have been prosecuted and should be in jail. Instead she is running for president in what looks like a rigged election."

 

As the billionaire businessman tanks in the polls, he has spent the last week claiming the media and a "global elite" is working against him, and that Mrs Clinton had plotted to destroy the sovereignty of the United States.

 

"Either we win this election or we lose this country," he told supporters in New Hampshire.

 

"I really believe this is the last chance we have to win. I really believe it. Not going to happen again."

 

The virulence of  Trump's attacks on the Clinton camp have raised concerns about whether the real estate mogul would even acknowledge a defeat, and how his legions of fired-up supporters would react should he lose.

 

US President Barack Obama echoed those concerns at a campaign rally yesterday.

 

"This is somebody who... is now suggesting that if the election doesn't go his way, it's not because of all the stuff he's said, but it's because it's rigged and it's a fraud," Mr Obama said.

"You don't start complaining about the refs before the game's even done. You just play the game, right?"

 

Earlier, Mr Trump said that the women accusing him of sexual misconduct fabricated their stories to damage his campaign after two more women came forward yesterday with allegations that he had groped them.

 

The new accusations were made by a contestant on his reality TV show The Apprentice, who cited a 2007 incident, and by a woman who described an incident in a nightclub from the early 1990s.

 

Many Republicans have sought to distance themselves from Trump.

 

The most senior of them, House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan, angered Trump when he announced this week he would no longer campaign for Trump  or defend him but would focus on trying to preserve the Republican majorities in both the House and the Senate in the election.

 

Ryan gave a campaign speech in Madison, Wisconsin, yesterday without mentioning Trump's name once.