Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., speaks to the media on Capitol Hill, Monday, Nov. 27, 2017 in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

WASHINGTON (AP) — His once-promising political career in shambles, Minnesota Sen. Al Franken appeared on the verge of resigning after fellow Democrats led by female senators abandoned him Wednesday over the mounting allegations of sexual misconduct that are roiling Capitol Hill.

But his departure was not certain. A tweet from his Twitter account late Wednesday said no final decision had been made and he was still talking with his family.

A majority of the Senate’s Democrats, including more than a half-dozen women, called on the two-term lawmaker to get out after another woman emerged Wednesday saying he forcibly tried to kiss her in 2006. That brought to at least seven the number of women accusing him of sexual impropriety.

Franken, the former comedian who made his name on “Saturday Night Live,” scheduled an announcement for Thursday. No topic was specified, but Democratic senators said they expected their liberal colleague to resign.

“Enough is enough,” said Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York. “We need to draw a line in the sand and say none of it is OK, none of it is acceptable and we, as elected leaders, should absolutely be held to a higher standard.”

Gillibrand was the first to call for Franken’s resignation on Wednesday, but a torrent of Democrats quickly followed.

“I’m shocked and appalled by Sen. Franken’s behavior,” said Sen. Patty Murray of Washington state. “It’s clear to me that this has been a deeply harmful, persistent problem and a clear pattern over a long period of time. It’s time for him to step aside.”

Late in the day Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York added his voice.

“I consider Senator Franken a dear friend and greatly respect his accomplishments, but he has a higher obligation to his constituents and the Senate, and he should step down immediately,” Schumer said.

Schumer called Franken shortly after the latest allegation and told him he needed to resign, said a Democrat familiar with the events. Schumer met later in his apartment with Franken and Franken’s wife, Franni, and repeated that message and did the same in additional talks with the senator throughout the day, said the Democrat, who spoke on condition of anonymity to describe private conversations

The resignation demands came in rapid succession even though Franken on Wednesday vehemently denied a new accusation that came from a former Democratic congressional aide, who said he tried to forcibly kiss her after a taping of his radio show in 2006.

The woman, who was not identified, told Politico that Franken pursued her after her boss had left and she was collecting her belongings. She said she ducked to avoid his lips, and that Franken told her: “It’s my right as an entertainer.”

Franken, in a statement, said the idea he would claim such conduct as a right was “preposterous.”

But it was soon clear that his position had become untenable, and his office later issued a statement saying, “Senator Franken will be making an announcement tomorrow. More details to come.”

Fellow Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who spoke to Franken, wrote on Twitter, “I am confident he will make the right decision.”

Capitol Hill has long had a culture that has erred on the side of protecting lawmakers. Franken, who is generally liked and respected by his colleagues, was initially afforded deference as he battled the initial allegations against him. But as the accusations increased, women in the Senate, who faced increasing pressure from the public and the media for protecting Franken, grew increasingly frustrated.

The pressure only grew after Tuesday, when former Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., resigned after numerous allegations of sexual misconduct.

Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., who spoke to Franken, said, “He’s devastated. He’s ashamed and he’s sorry and everything that he’s been saying and it’s hard, but I told him, Al, at the end of the day this was wrong and so I’m sorry but this is what we’re going to have to do.”

One irony: While Franken apparently is departing, Alabama GOP Senate candidate Roy Moore will be arriving, if he prevails in a Dec. 12 special election. Multiple women have accused Moore of sexual misconduct with them when they were teens, including one who was 14. If Moore is elected, it could create a political nightmare for Republicans, who have promised an ethics probe.

A national conversation about sexual harassment has intensified this fall after the heavily publicized case of movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, who was accused of many acts of sexual misconduct, including rape, by actresses and other women. Just on Wednesday, Time magazine named as its person of the year, the “silence breakers” — women who have come forward on sexual harassment

Punishment has been swift for leaders in entertainment, media and sports while members of Congress have tried to survive the onslaught of allegations.

Franken already faced a Senate Ethics Committee investigation into previous claims by several other women that he groped them or sought to forcibly kiss them.

The allegations began in mid-November when Leeann Tweeden, now a Los Angeles radio anchor, accused him of forcibly kissing her during a 2006 USO tour in Afghanistan.

Other allegations followed, including a woman who says that Franken put his hand on her buttocks as they posed for a photo at the Minnesota State Fair in 2010. Two women, who asked to remain anonymous, have told the Huffington Post that Franken squeezed their buttocks at political events during his first campaign for the Senate in 2008. A fourth woman, an Army veteran, alleged Franken cupped her breast during a photo on a USO tour in 2003.

Franken has apologized for his behavior but has also disputed some of the allegations.

Franken was first elected to the Senate in 2008, defeating Republican Norm Coleman in a bitter recount that took seven months. Franken won that race despite attacks over bawdy humor and writings dating back to his days on NBC’s “Saturday Night Live,” including a proposed skit joking about rape.

Franken said then that he regretted such writings, and once in the Senate he cultivated a serious and policy-oriented image. Throughout his eight years in office, he fashioned a reputation as a populist Democrat and fueled speculation that he might run for president in 2020.

___

Associated Press writers Juliet Linderman in Washington and Jay Reeves in Birmingham, Alabama, contributed to this report

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23 thoughts on “Democrats Push For Franken Resignation

    • Passing Through!! on said:

      LOL!! The Democrats don’t need to Impeach trump because impeachment is coming once Mueller’s investigation wraps up. He’s already committed obstruction by admitting that he knew Flynn lied. Like I said we don’t need a movement to impeach trump because he’s doing a fantastic job of destroying himself just get out of his way. I’m sure Flynn is singing like a bird so he doesn’t die in prison for his treasonous acts and to protect his criminal ass son. Jared Kushner, trump jr and Flynn jr are next. The FBI will connect all of the dots by using the minions around trump and then trump will fall last.

  1. specialt757 on said:

    I know by now everyone has heard or seen the interview of the lady that was on the plane with the sexual predator-in-chief many years ago where she says he lifted the armrest and started physically assaulting her, by putting his hands up her skirt and touching her breast. She says she had to get up and go to the back of the plane to keep from getting attacked. Of course, he jokes and says she wouldn’t be his type. Never denying it happened though. And like she said, maybe she wasn’t his type, but she was available to him although not by choice.
    But watch, NO REPUBLICAN will request he resign. He’s already admitted to kissing women without their permission and grabby them by the p***y, but still no republican, not even supporters are asking that he step down. Why America? Because POWER trumps ALL.

    • Passing Through!! on said:

      At least they’re asking for his resignation acknowledging what he did was wrong instead of campaigning for a child molester, pedophile rapist to be in the senate.

  2. HIT ON THE LADIES: What is going on in this Country that a MAN is not to hit on a woman anymore? Franken did NOT Commit a Crime. Dagg-gone, what in the hell is going on in this Country that a MAN cannot hit on a woman anymore!? My daddy hit on my mother several times before she gave him the green light, in words to say, if my father & your father had not hit on your mother, you would not be here. As such, Franken should NOT resign!!!

    • Passing Through!! on said:

      Well, there’s hitting on or flirting with a woman or respectfully pursuing someone and then there’s sexual harassment. I’m sure your dad didn’t sexually pursue your mother in a way that was inappropriate. But I do believe that some of these women are lying and simply jumping on the “me too” band wagon.

      • @PassingThrough: Bottom-Line, because the President & Roy Moore will not step-down for criminal sexual conduct as opposed to Franken, whose conduct is not criminal, Franken should not resign!!

      • Because Bill Clinton did not resign admits PROVEN sexual assaults, why should The Don against accusations as far as Moore I know there’s something there I also know that some of those accusations are highly questionable

      • specialt757 on said:

        I agree Theo, sometimes you have to be diligent in going after what you want. And it may cause you to have to pursue a little harder after each rejection. But as stated there is a difference between harm less flirting and sexual harassment, although the lines are getting blurrier each and every day. What Franken did or said was childish and inappropriate, but not an assault.
        On another note: I’d like to know when the women who sexually assault men will be held to the same standards. I heard something on the radio the other day, where a young woman was saying she didn’t have a problem pulling a man’s penis out of his pants when she wanted to have sex. In my eyes that is sexual assault. A male friend of mine told me that while he was in a club one night and we know how crowded clubs can be, he squeezed through a small gathering and one woman grabbed him by the a$$ and then her friend did the same thing. That is sexual assault and it doesn’t matter the sex of the offender. And I know for a fact we’ve all heard this line from a woman before “You got to use what you want to get what you need” referring to her coochie.
        So we need to stop playing and put it all out there, it aint just men doing it to women, it’s women doing it to men as well. People use sex to get what they want and most of the time, sex is the “power” card in either situation.

      • @specialt757, wholly agree + how I wish my English Teacher, Ms. Henry, had taken advantage of me.

      • Passing Through!! on said:

        @THEO, I agree that Franken losing his job is a bit much, but I guess the dems are trying to make a no tolerance stance looking a how the rublikkkans are backing a child molester for senate, unfortunately Franken had to be the sacrificial lamb for this movement.

      • @PassingThrough: Barabas & Jesus repeat; the crowd chose Barabas to be saved over Jesus; I be dagg-gone.

      • specialt757 on said:

        @Theo, that’s funny a lot of teen boys wish their fine female teachers would have hit on them, but I know you recall the news stories of the recent pasts where the teacher had an affair and got pregnant by her student and is now serving prison time. Sooooo good thing your teacher had better sense.

        While the republicans will never play the game the way dems do, sacrifice for the good of the party. The thugs play to win and the dems play to lose every time. It’s about time they get a new playbook.

        Barabas and Jesus, sacrifice…hmm

  3. Why don’t they insist the predator in chief step down? He’s the Maine character is this movie. He’s the main one who should resign. ASAP. But we he republuthugs will nev t a basis on that. Damn hypocrites.

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