AL FRANKEN RESIGNS: Minnesota Democrat bows to pressure from Senate colleagues amid sexual misconduct allegations


Al Franken
Al
Franken

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  • Sen. Al Franken resigned amid several accusations of
    sexual misconduct.
  • Franken has been accused of groping and forcibly
    kissing women.
  • During his speech announcing his resignation from the
    Senate, the Minnesota Democrat called out President Donald
    Trump, who has himself been accused of sexual

    misconduct.

Democratic Sen. Al Franken announced his resignation from the
Senate on Thursday amid multiple allegations of sexual
misconduct. 

“Today I am announcing that in the coming weeks I will be
resigning as a member of the United States Senate,” he said
during a speech on the chamber floor. 

Franken took the opportunity to cast blame on others, including
President Donald Trump, who have been accused of sexual
harassment and abuse. 

“I of all people am aware that there is some irony that I am
leaving while a man who has bragged on tape about his history of
sexual assault is in the Oval Office and a man who has repeatedly
preyed on young girls campaigns for the Senate with the full
support of his party,” he said. 

Franken’s widely expected resignation comes
a day after at least 35 Democratic senators
, including
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, publicly called on the
Minnesota Democrat to resign on Wednesday as he faced two new
accusations of sexual misconduct.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and several other female Democratic
senators led the calls for Franken to resign, describing the
allegations against him as a pattern of mistreatment. 

“I have been shocked and disappointed to learn over the last few
weeks that a colleague I am fond of personally has engaged in
behavior towards women that is unacceptable,” Gillibrand, a
prominent advocate for survivors of sexual abuse,
wrote in a statement on Facebook
. “I consider Senator Franken
to be a friend and have enjoyed working with him in the Senate in
our shared fight to help American families.”

By Wednesday afternoon, dozens of members of the Senate
Democratic caucus had called on Franken to step down. A
representative for Franken said the senator would make an
announcement on Thursday, with speculation suggesting that he
would bow to calls to resign.

Also on Wednesday,
two additional

women
accused Franken of sexual misconduct, growing the total
number of female accusers to eight. One woman, a former
Democratic congressional aide,
said Franken attempted to forcibly kiss her
after a taping of
his radio show in 2006, three years before he became a senator.
Franken denied this allegation, calling it “categorically false”
and “preposterous.” 

Franken insists he doesn’t remember meeting the five women who
have accused him of groping them during photo ops, and he says he
has a different recollection of a 2006 incident with Leeann
Tweeden, a California TV and radio host who says Franken groped
and forcibly kissed her.

But the senator has said he’s “ashamed” by the allegations and
apologized to the women who have felt disrespected by his
behavior.

“I know that I am going to have to be much more conscious in
these circumstances — much more careful, much more sensitive,”
Franken said during a press conference last week, adding, “It’s
going to take a long time for me to regain people’s trust, but I
hope that starting work today that I can start to do that.”

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