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Sen. Franken’s resignation expected

  • Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., speaks to the media on Capitol Hill in Washington. ap photo

  • Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., answers a question about her statement on Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., at the end of a news conference on sexual harassment in the workplace, Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin) Jacquelyn Martin

  • From left, Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-Ill., Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., Gretchen Carlson, and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., hold a news conference to introduce legislation to curb sexual harassment in the workplace, on Capitol Hill, Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017, in Washington. Gillibrand and fellow female Democratic senators have united in calling for Sen. Al Franken to resign amid sexual misconduct allegations. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik) Andrew Harnik

  • Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., listens during a news conference on sexual harassment, Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017, on Capitol Hill in Washington. Sen. Al Franken's support among his fellow Democrats is cratering as a host of female Democratic senators Wednesday called upon him to resign. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin) Jacquelyn Martin

  • Members of the media are lined up outside the Senate office of Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., on Capitol Hill, Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017, in Washington. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., and fellow female Democratic senators have united in calling for SFranken to resign amid sexual misconduct allegations. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik) Andrew Harnik



Associated Press
Wednesday, December 06, 2017

WASHINGTON — 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.”