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Senator Al Franken Announces Resignation, Calls Out Trump and Moore

Minnesota Democratic Sen. Al Franken returned to work Monday, November 27, 2017 on Capitol Hill, telling reporters outside of his Capitol Hill office that he was sorry to everyone he let down.

WASHINGTON — Democratic Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota is resigning following allegations that he touched women inappropriately, he announced on the Senate floor Thursday.

“I am announcing that in the coming weeks I will be resigning as a member of the United States Senate,” Franken said in an emotional address in which he said some of the allegations against him weren’t true.

The resignation brings a sudden and dishonorable end to the unlikely political career of the comedian-turned-progressive darling, first known to most Americans for his work on “Saturday Night Live.”

Franken, who did not apologize during his speech, also called out President Donald Trump, who was repeatedly accused of sexual assault during his presidential campaign, and Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, who faces accusations that he pursued relationships with teenagers and committed sexual assault while he was in his 30s.

“I, of all people, am aware that there is some 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 and a man who has repeatedly preyed on young girls campaigns for the Senate with the full support of his party,” Franken said.

More than 20 Democrats, including many who publicly called on Franken to resign Wednesday, were in the chamber to hear his speech, which lasted about 12 minutes. Republican Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona, who has announced he would not seek reelection next year, also listened to his remarks. Following its conclusion, the Democrats in attendance hugged Franken. Sens. Tammy Duckworth of Illinois and Claire McCaskill of Missouri, two Democrats who called for Franken to resign, were both seen wiping their eyes.

Franken’s resignation means Minnesota Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton will get to appoint a temporary replacement to the seat in the interim, before a special election in November 2018. Dayton said Thursday following Franken’s resignation that he has not decided on a replacement to fill the seat.

“Events have unfolded quickly; thus, I have not yet decided on my appointment to fill this upcoming vacancy. I expect to make and announce my decision in the next couple of days,” Dayton said in a statement.

The accusations

Lindsay Menz, the woman who first told CNN that Franken groped her buttocks at a Minnesota State Fair in 2010, told CNN she was “a little disappointed” by Franken’s statement on the Senate floor.

On Franken’s statement that some of the allegations are “simply not true,” Menz said she wonders if he was talking about her. “I just feel bad that this is our culture,” she said. “I feel bad that we’ve allowed men to behave this way.”

Menz said she watched his entire speech on CNN. She said she feels badly that he is resigning: “I feel sad that he has to leave a job he’s passionate about.”

The push for Franken’s resignation started after a woman came forward last month to say he had badgered her into an unwanted kiss before he was a senator and groped her while she slept.

‘Their patience had worn incredibly thin’: How the dam broke on Al Franken

That allegation set forth weeks of open deliberation about the political future of the unlikely comedian turned progressive darling.

Last month, Leeann Tweeden, a morning news anchor on the AM radio station KABC in Los Angeles, posted her story on the station’s website, saying Franken forcibly kissed her and groped her in 2006 during a USO tour.

Franken apologized following her account’s publishing.

“The first thing I want to do is apologize: to Leeann, to everyone else who was part of that tour, to everyone who has worked for me, to everyone I represent, and to everyone who counts on me to be an ally and supporter and champion of women. There’s more I want to say, but the first and most important thing—and if it’s the only thing you care to hear, that’s fine — is: I’m sorry,” Franken said in the email statement.

As condemnation increased in the wake of the story, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, called for a Senate Ethics Committee probe into Franken, and Franken said repeatedly he would cooperate with that investigation.

But in the coming days and weeks, more accusers have come forward.

A woman came forward to CNN to say Franken, as a senator, grabbed her buttocks while taking a photo at the Minnesota State Fair in 2010.

The Huffington Post reported two more women accused Franken of inappropriately touching them in 2007 and 2008.

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.

An Army veteran told CNN later that Franken groped her on a USO tour as well before he was a senator. The woman, Stephanie Kemplin, said Franken cupped her breast while she was deployed in the Middle East during the Iraq War.

After Kemplin came forward, a spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said the Democratic leader would not comment on the allegation against one of his fellow Democrats.

Then on Wednesday, Politico reported a former Democratic congressional aide said Franken tried to kiss her forcibly in 2006. CNN has not yet verified the claims in the Politico story, but Franken flatly denied the allegations int he report.

Shortly after, New York Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand called for Franken to resign, and other Democratic senators posted statements in swift succession. In the span of a few hours Wednesday afternoon, dozens of senators said Franken should go — including Schumer.

‘Saturday Night’ to Capitol Hill

Franken made his start as a comedy writer in New York, contributing to NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” as a writer from its opening years in the 1970s to the 1990s. He made his way occasionally from the writers’ room to the stage, gaining national exposure.

As the years went on, Franken shifted from politically charged comedy and satire to politics outright, becoming a liberal voice on radio and releasing books attacking Republicans and right-wing media.

In some of his books, Franken proposed — somewhat tongue in cheek — that he would have a political life, maybe as a senator or even president.

In the 2008 election, Franken turned the idea into a reality and challenged Minnesota Republican Sen. Norm Coleman.

The 2008 elections saw Democrats around the nation ascendant, and as Barack Obama won the presidential election, Franken and Coleman were neck-and-neck. After a recount, Franken was ahead, and after ensuing legal challenges from Coleman, Franken emerged victorious and joined the Senate, giving the Democratic caucus a brief supermajority.

Franken hewed liberal on most issues and was a reliable Obama supporter through the years. He has been an outspoken critic of President Donald Trump, and he drew plaudits from many in his party for his sharp questioning of Attorney General Jeff Sessions during Senate Judiciary Committee hearings.

In the wake of Trump’s stunning 2016 victory and the general disrepair of the Democratic Party, Franken’s name even made its way to some discussions about potential 2020 candidates to challenge Trump for the presidency.


  • Common Era

    These idiots are cleaning house of their regulars for a fresh run at the 2020 race. The new hopeful is Kirsten Elizabeth Gillibrand for the 2020 race. They are hoping to pull in the younger generation by having a “K.E.G Party” because of her initials. I just heard this from my relatives. That is how stupid they are when it comes to IMAGE. Keg Party 2020! We love not going to Mexico unless we want to get kidnapped!

  • trucker

    God Bless President Donald J. Trump.
    Ever since his election evil has been exposed like never before in our nations history.
    He is a hero to all Americans!

  • Denny Fausey

    our government is a joke. Don’t forget conyers who has held his seat since 1965 ?????? and thiks it should go to his scum bag son who stabbed his girlfriend in a fight. VOTE THEM ALL OUT & TERM LIMITS !!!!!!!

  • Not Blissfully Unaware

    What is the difference between what Franken was accused of and what Moore was accused of and what Trump was accused of? If you think that Franken needed to resign because of this – then you are a hypocrite if you aren’t calling for Trump to resign and Moore to drop out of his Senate race.

    • Robert

      Some who have posted here are correct in asserting allegations are just that. Allegations. In many cases beyond what a prosecutor can pursue. But Al, left photos and Clinton Stains. Democrats have bashed accusing women for years. That’s the only hypocrisy present here. So man up lil buddy and dry those tears. It won’t seem so hard when your grown up.

    • Bob Calvey

      Hey blissful I can’t stand franken but I don’t think he should resign but even you have to admit and you might even have frankens pics in your coloring books so they are not just allegations like the other ones you mentioned

  • Sandy M

    Ya gotta love the melting snow flakes to sad to watch a real man wound not cry like a baby just go away and cry liberal pervert!

    • E

      Ha ha ha ha! Is that English or is it trailer park speak? Ha ha ha! “Snowflake” is a term used by camoflauge wearing, drunken, chain smoking, redneck trash. Ok white trash loser, first it’s “TOO sad to watch”. Also a real man would not cry ha ha ha are you serious? Did your dishonorable discharge, alcoholic, ex military white trash father teach you that? Ha ha ha ha ha! A real man would not cry! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Liberal pervert? Ha ha ha ha! Do you also use the term lib-tard? Ha ha ha ha! Thank you very much, I’m going to a dinner party and your uneducated white trash comments will surely be entertainment for us all.

      • Robert

        Say hi to Conyers for me at that dinner party! Just to get to upset if you don’t get a 2nd look, he don’t like fat lips and big butts. He goes for the smart ones!

      • CongressionalBlackCockus

        No time for chitchat E Don’t be late! Charlie Rangel, Maxine Waters and Eddie Bernice Johnson need those donations to pay for their white lawyers! And don’t show up in anything that shows white stains! Now get those tables served!

      • E

        Ha ha ha ha! These responses are classic! Oh where to begin. As for the obvious ghetto trash soundsavoutwhitetome, I’m not from NEPA super genius so yes we do have dinner parties in the wealthy area in which I live so don’t be jealous because all you have is kool aid and dry cereal ha ha! And as for robert and congressional black man lol you missed your intended mark by miles. Ha ha ha! I’m not a democrat and I’m also white and wealthy so bwah ha ha! Is that all you pathetic white and black trailer trash/project trash have? All you can do is try and make an attempt at clever statements ha ha! Ha ha ha! So have you pathetic losers figured out why you are poor yet? Huh anything? Ha ha ha! “Say hi to Conyers” ha ha ha! What’s a hood squat? Ha ha ha you just outed yourself as minority project trash lol. Hey congressionalblackcockus “get those tables served.” Ha ha ha you thought I was black. Ha ha ha ha! Thank you for your pathetic responses. 😀

      • E

        @Ignatius. Ha ha ha ha! You just outed yourself! Ha ha ha ha! No, I own a home that you would never be able to rent not even for a week. Ha ha! Is that it? Really?! Culture is something that is common to most people outside of NEPA. Ignatius instrad of trying to drag people down to your poor, low class trash level why don’t you try to better yourself as a person so decent communities would accept you? Oh my mistake trash can only run their mouths. Lol. 😂

  • Supporter of America

    I’m not condoning the behavior, but where weren’t all the dems calling for Clinton’s head during the whole Monica scandal?? And who really knows how many others. And Lauer gets booted for less than Clinton had done. Talk about double standards, Clinton should have been impeached for abuse of power and sexual assault/harassment/misconduct while in office.

  • john williams

    things arent so funny now, are they Al? its different when you’re held accountable like us peon citizens!

  • Writer Girl

    Guilty until proven innocent!! What a scary place the U.S. has become and I don’t even like Al Franken.

  • Soapy Bubble Beer Stein

    Y’know……..this isn’t something new. It is my hope that people who really experience something inappropriate will actually Do Something when it happens, rather than wait for years and years before taking their revenge and calling the person out. If they do it to one person, chances are very good that they’ve done it to others and each person that remains silent for fear of their careers or income contributes and enables people to continue this behavior.

    What concerns me is that there are many, many angry people out there that will stop at nothing to destroy someone that has angered them. It’s like that fellow that called a news conference and shot himself because of false accusations – there will be many false claims, and that diminishes the validity of true sexual harassment. UGH.

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