Al Franken resigns from Senate over sex misconduct claims

Al Franken resigns from Senate over sex misconduct claims

Al Franken resigns from Senate over sex misconduct claims

After mounting sexual harassment allegations and pressure from his colleagues to resign, Al Franken announced that he will resign his Senate seat in the next few weeks.

"Senator Franken is talking with his family at this time and plans to make an announcement in D.C. tomorrow".

Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (RI), Elizabeth Warren (MA), Chris Murphy (CT), Bernie Sanders (VT), and Patrick Leahy (VT) also issued statements or made comments to the press calling for Franken's removal.

Last month a radio host alleged Franken had forcibly kissed her and then released a photo of him appearing to grope her while she slept.

Franken apologized following her account's publishing. "And that I have earned a reputation as someone who respects the women I work alongside every day".

Franken said he was keenly aware of 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".

Franken's colleagues in the Senate, who initially called for the Ethics Committee to investigate the accusations, began calling this week for the senator to resign, noting that the new allegations indicated a "pattern of egregious and unacceptable behavior toward women", rather than isolated incidents.

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He also described himself as "a champion of women", but acknowledged that "all women deserve to be heard and their experiences taken seriously", and said he would resign in the "coming weeks".

Multiple women accused Franken of inappropriately touching them or attempting to kiss them.

Franken went on to speak with media outlets in his home state of Minnesota, saying he was "embarrassed and ashamed", but hoped to regain the trust of those he let down. The woman, Stephanie Kemplin, said Franken cupped her breast while she was deployed in the Middle East during the Iraq War.

It marked a dramatic and sudden show of unity against one of their own in the 100-member chamber, where the Republicans hold a slim majority.

On the Democratic side, Franken's departure adds to the strain for a party trying to cut into the GOP's two-seat margin in the Senate while having to defend many more seats. Franken has specifically denied at least one of the allegations, and has responded less clearly, or not at all, to others, ABC News reports.

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With support from fellow Democrats vanishing, Franken had a stark decision to make: heed the calls to leave, and allow the party to close ranks and try to gain the moral high ground amid a tidal wave of sexual harassment allegations that have lashed the political world - or stay and fight.

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