Al Franken

‘Franken Didn’t Have to Resign’

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?”

Al Franken Resigns from the Senate

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.”

Female Lt. Governor Likely to Replace Franken

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.”

Star Tribune Calls on Franken to Resign

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.

Yet Another Woman Says Franken Groped Her

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.

Franken to Make Announcement Tomorrow

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.

Democratic Senators Call on Franken to Resign

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.

Almost immediately after, Sens. Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Masie Hirono (D-HI), Claire McCaskill (D-MO) and Patty Murray (D-WA) also called on Franken to resign.

Another Woman Says Franken Tried to Forcibly Kiss Her

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.”

Woman Says Franken Tried to Kiss Her Onstage

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.”

Franken’s Apology Fails the Candor Test

A blistering editorial from the Minnesota Star Tribune :

Franken’s apology is less a statement of accountability and more akin to “I’m sorry for what you think I did.” Franken may just be trying to ride out the storm, as is the case too often these days…

Franken is right — he has much to do to regain Minnesotans’ trust. It may not be possible. As he continues his reflection, we urge the senator to consider what is best for Minnesota and to weigh that more heavily than what might be best for his political career.

Franken Says He’s ‘Embarrassed and Ashamed’

Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) broke his eight-day silence Sunday, after keeping a low profile since four different women shared accounts of being groped, embarrassed and, in one case, forcibly kissed, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports.

Said Franken: “I’m embarrassed and ashamed. I’ve let a lot of people down and I’m hoping I can make it up to them and gradually regain their trust.”

He noted that he has posed for “tens of thousands of photos” over the years, but does not remember any that ended with his hand sliding down to cup women’s backsides: “I don’t remember these photographs, I don’t. This is not something I would intentionally do.”

Franken also gave an interview to Minnesota Public Radio.

Franken Says He Won’t Resign

Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) told the Minneapolis Star Tribune that he plans to stay in the U.S. Senate despite sexual misconduct allegations against him by four women and will try to win back Minnesotans’ trust.

Franken said that he “feels terribly that I’ve made some women feel badly.” He called himself “a warm person” who likes to hug people when they’re being photographed with him, but clearly, his embrace “crossed a line for some women.”