clear
Wednesday December 13th, 2017 9:43AM

Franken's support collapses, fellow Dems expect resignation

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

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

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News, AP Entertainment, APOnline Celebrity News
© Copyright 2017 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
The Latest: Franken steps down, takes shot at Trump
Sen. Al Franken has reluctantly announced he's resigning from Congress, succumbing to a torrent of sexual harassment allegations
12:05AM ( 19 minutes ago )
2 Australians jailed in brutal slaying of Aboriginal woman
A judge has sentenced a man to at least 14 years in prison for the slaying of an Aboriginal woman who bled to death from a violent sexual assault on a remote beach
12:03AM ( 21 minutes ago )
Japan economy gains momentum, grows 2.5 percent in July-Sept
Japan reports its economy grew at a 2.5 percent annual pace in July-September, upgrading an earlier estimate of 1.4 percent growth
11:55PM ( 28 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Jones makes game-saving catch, Falcons beats Saints 20-17
Deion Jones made an interception in the end zone with 1:25 remaining and the Atlanta Falcons held on for a crucial 20-17 victory over the New Orleans Saints, setting up a three-way race for the title in the NFC South
11:33PM ( 51 minutes ago )
Australian prime minister rushes gay marriage into law
Australia's prime minister rushed gay marriage into law by gaining a final signature on the bill overwhelming endorsed by Parliament and as the nation started planning weddings that can take place in a month.
11:31PM ( 52 minutes ago )
Ex-priest convicted of murdering Texas woman in 1960
A former priest has been convicted of the 1960 slaying of a South Texas teacher and one-time beauty queen who was a member of the parish he served
10:50PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP National News
Congress averts shutdown, sends Trump stopgap spending bill
Congress has passed a stopgap spending bill to prevent a government shutdown this weekend and buy time for challenging talks on a wide range of unfinished business on Capitol Hill
7:26PM ( 4 hours ago )
Combative Franken quits, points to GOP tolerance of Trump
Sen. Al Franken has announced he's resigning from the Senate, but not without taking a shot at the GOP for tolerating President Trump
7:24PM ( 4 hours ago )
Town known as 'Shangri-La' threatened by California fire
The biggest and most destructive of the windblown fires raking Southern California has shut down one of the region's busiest freeways and threatened Ojai, a scenic mountain known as "Shangri-La."
7:24PM ( 5 hours ago )
AP Online National News
Trump celebrates Hanukkah, Jerusalem at White House
President Donald Trump is celebrating an "especially special" Hanukkah at the White House a day after declaring Jerusalem Israel's capital and setting off criticism and clashes
9:57PM ( 2 hours ago )
Interior delays Obama-era regulation on methane emissions
The Interior Department is delaying an Obama-era regulation aimed at restricting harmful methane emissions from oil and gas production on federal lands
8:14PM ( 4 hours ago )
House ethics panel: Nunes didn't leak classified information
The House Ethics Committee has cleared the chairman of the House intelligence committee on a complaint that he may have leaked classified information
8:08PM ( 4 hours ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
The Latest: San Diego fire burns 1,000 acres
Fast-moving San Diego fire burns 1,000 acres near rural community of horse ranches
6:24PM ( 6 hours ago )
EPA chief defends spending on travel and soundproof booth
Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt defended his frequent taxpayer-funded travel and his purchase of a custom soundproof communications booth for his office, saying both were justified
5:58PM ( 6 hours ago )
The Latest: Fire text alert sent to 12 million Californians
A text alert about dangerous fire weather conditions that was sent to 12 million Southern Californians in seven counties was the widest ever issued by the state Office of Emergency Services
5:53PM ( 6 hours ago )
AP Online Congress News
Jonas brother testifies at FIFA bribery trial about concert
New York trial of 3 South American soccer officials takes strange twist with testimony by pop star Kevin Jonas about Paul McCartney concert in Argentina
8:11PM ( 4 hours ago )
Long-neglected 'Chernier' makes heroic return to La Scala
Umberto Giordano's long-neglected opera 'Andrea Chernier' has made a heroic return to La Scala for the season premiere, with long applause for soprano Anna Netrebko and husband tenor Yusif Eyvazov who sang opposite each other as ill-fated lovers
7:08PM ( 5 hours ago )
First lady wishes to spend holiday on deserted island
If she could spend the holidays anywhere in the world, Melania Trump says she'd take her family to a deserted island.
6:30PM ( 5 hours ago )
AP Entertainment
Devils D Ben Lovejoy pledges brain for concussion research
New Jersey Devils defenseman Ben Lovejoy says he will donate his brain to research after he dies so it can be studied for signs of traumatic injury
2:31PM ( 9 hours ago )
Steinem takes shot at President Trump at women's conference
Gloria Steinem called President Donald Trump the "harasser-in-chief" on the opening night of a sold-out women's conference in Boston
2:20PM ( 10 hours ago )
Weekend of Paris tributes for late rock star Johnny Hallyday
French President Emmanuel Macron, first lady Brigitte Macron and hundreds of thousands of fans are expected to pay tribute to the late French rock star Johnny Hallyday on Saturday
2:08PM ( 10 hours ago )
APOnline Celebrity News
The Latest: Franken steps down, takes shot at Trump
Sen. Al Franken has reluctantly announced he's resigning from Congress, succumbing to a torrent of sexual harassment allegations
12:05AM ( 19 minutes ago )
2 Australians jailed in brutal slaying of Aboriginal woman
A judge has sentenced a man to at least 14 years in prison for the slaying of an Aboriginal woman who bled to death from a violent sexual assault on a remote beach
12:03AM ( 22 minutes ago )
Japan economy gains momentum, grows 2.5 percent in July-Sept
Japan reports its economy grew at a 2.5 percent annual pace in July-September, upgrading an earlier estimate of 1.4 percent growth
11:55PM ( 29 minutes ago )
'Not a drill': Students hid in classrooms as shooter kills 2
A shooter killed two classmates at a New Mexico high school as students hid in their classrooms or in closets
11:49PM ( 35 minutes ago )
Wildfire destroys mobile homes in California retirement park
A brush fire driven by gusty winds that have plagued Southern California all week exploded rapidly Thursday and destroyed dozens of trailer homes in a retirement community north of San Diego
11:46PM ( 38 minutes ago )