New York Times: “A prominent donor to the Democratic Party says she is considering withdrawing support for senators who urged their colleague Al Franken to resign after he was accused of sexual misconduct. The donor, Susie Tompkins Buell, has been one of the Democratic Party’s most generous supporters for decades.”
“As I leave the Senate, I have to admit that it feels like we’re losing the war for truth. Maybe it’s already lost. If that’s what happens, then we have lost the ability to have the kinds of arguments that help build consensus.”
— Sen. Al Franken (D-MN), quoted by the Washington Post, in his final speech on the Senate floor.
Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) told the Burlington Free Press that he was too quick in calling for Sen. Al Franken’s (D-MN) resignation in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations.
Said Leahy: “I have stood for due process throughout my years as a prosecutor and in chairing the Judiciary Committee. I regret not doing that this time.”
“At least four senators are urging Al Franken to reconsider resigning, including two who issued statements calling for the resignation two weeks ago and said they now feel remorse over what they feel was a rush to judgment,” Politico reports.
“Franken’s unusual timeline — in his departure announcement he said he’d go ‘in the coming weeks,’ without setting a date — has fed the fleeting hopes that there’s still time to reverse course… People familiar with Franken’s plans said he has not changed his mind and intends to formally resign in early January.”
Former Minnesota Gov. Arne Carlson (R) told Minnesota Public Radio that Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) should rescind his planned resignation and allow a formal ethics probe to continue in order to preserve due process.
Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) told the Washington Post that Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) “didn’t have to resign.”
Said Cassidy: “There’s no due process for Franken. He decided to accept being drummed out… I’m not defending him. You just can’t help but observe what I’m saying is true.”
David Axelrod: “Strange principle is emerging: If you admit misconduct, you resign. But if you deny it, however compelling or voluminous the testimony against you, you continue in office-or on to office-with impunity?”
Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) announced his resignation from the U.S. Senate “in the coming weeks,” citing the “irony in the fact that I am leaving while a man who has bragged on tape about his history of sexual assault sits in the Oval Office.”
He said he gave the “false impression” that he had admitted to sexual harassment, which he denies.
Said Franken: “I know in my heart that nothing I have done as a Senator, nothing, has brought dishonor on this institution.”
Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton (D) “is expected to appoint his lieutenant governor and close ally, Tina Smith, to Al Franken’s seat if the Democratic senator resigns on Thursday,” Politico reports.
“But that appointment would be just the start of a huge upheaval in Minnesota.”
“Part of the reason Smith could be heading to the Senate, the sources said, is because she has indicated no interest in running for Congress in the past and would not run for the remainder of Franken’s term, which expires in 2020, in a 2018 special election. That would clear the way for a wide-open Democratic primary next year if Franken steps down.”
A Democratic official who has spoken to Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) and key aides tells Minnesota Public Radio that Franken will resign his Senate seat on Thursday.
More than 30 Democratic senators have now joined the calls for Franken to step aside, according to Axios.
However, Franken’s office tweets: “No final decision has been made and the Senator is still talking with his family.”
The Minneapolis Star Tribune wants Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) to resign:
Franken is only partway through a second term and had only recently started to become a larger voice on the national stage, particularly with the publication of a new book. But the incidents of alleged sexual misconduct have become too damaging for him to continue. Franken has said he will make an announcement on Thursday: It should be that he is resigning.
If this is to be an actual turning point in our culture, there must be real and lasting consequences to behaviors that never should have been accepted. That these incidents came so late in Franken’s life should make him all the more accountable. Instead, he has mostly offered hollow apologies that failed to acknowledge what happened.
Tina Dupuy is the latest woman to accuse Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) of groping her.
I only bug celebrities for pictures when it’ll make my foster mom happy. She loves Franken, so I asked to get a picture with him. We posed for the shot. He immediately put his hand on my waist, grabbing a handful of flesh. I froze. Then he squeezed. At least twice.
I’d been married for two years at the time; I don’t let my husband touch me like that in public because I believe it diminishes me as a professional woman. Al Franken’s familiarity was inappropriate and unwanted. It was also quick; he knew exactly what he was doing.
Sen. Al Franken’s (D-MN) office said the senator will make a public announcement tomorrow amid mounting calls for his resignation, CBS News reports.
Should Franken resign, the process to replace him is clear:
- Since it’s more than six weeks before the primary for that Senate seat, Gov. Mark Dayton would appoint someone to fill the seat.
- There would be an election in 2018 to find someone to fill out the rest of his term until the 2020 election.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) called on Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) to resign in a Facebook post:
We should demand the highest standards, not the lowest, from our leaders, and we should fundamentally value and respect women. Every workplace in America, including Congress, needs to have a strong process and accountability for sexual harassment claims, and I am working with others to address the broken and opaque system in Congress.
While Senator Franken is entitled to have the Ethics Committee conclude its review, I believe it would be better for our country if he sent a clear message that any kind of mistreatment of women in our society isn’t acceptable by stepping aside to let someone else serve.
A former Democratic congressional aide said Al Franken tried to forcibly kiss her after a taping of his radio show in 2006, three years before he became a U.S. senator, Politico reports.
“The aide said Franken pursued her after her boss had left the studio. She said she was gathering her belongings to follow her boss out of the room. When she turned around, Franken was in her face. The former staffer ducked to avoid Franken’s lips.”
As she hastily left the room, she said, Franken told her: “It’s my right as an entertainer.”
A former elected official in New England who has requested anonymity tells Jezebel that Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) attempted to give her a “wet, open-mouthed kiss” onstage at an event in 2006, shortly before he ran for Senate.
The woman says the encounter left her “stunned and incredulous.”
Said the woman: “I reached out my hand to shake his. He took it and leaned toward me with his mouth open. I turned my head away from him and he landed a wet, open-mouthed kiss awkwardly on my cheek.”