Archive for Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Sen. Franken’s support fades as female Democrats seek resignation; announcement expected Thursday

In this Nov. 27, 2017, photo, Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., speaks to the media on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

In this Nov. 27, 2017, photo, Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., speaks to the media on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

December 6, 2017


WASHINGTON — Sen. Al Franken's support among his fellow Democrats appeared to collapse Wednesday as a group of female Democratic senators called upon him to resign amid sexual misconduct allegations. His office said he would make an announcement Thursday, but did not specify the subject.

Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., Patty Murray, D-Wash., Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, Kamala Harris, D-Calif., Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., called on Franken to step down. Some Democratic men joined them.

"I'm shocked and appalled by Sen. Franken's behavior," Murray said. "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."

Gillibrand said "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."

With Franken's position appearing untenable, his office issued a statement saying, "Senator Franken will be making an announcement tomorrow. More details to come."

The calls came as another woman accused Franken of sexual misconduct in an account provided to Politico.

The demands came in rapid succession after Franken on Wednesday vehemently denied a new sexual misconduct 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 Minnesota Democrat said in a statement that the allegation, reported by Politico, was "categorically not true."

The woman, who was not identified, said 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 his statement, said the idea he would claim such conduct as a right as an entertainer was "preposterous."

But the tide quickly turned against Franken Wednesday morning. Fellow Democrats had previously been cautious and respected Franken's right to cooperate with an ethics probe. But the steady stream of allegations has female Democrats fed up.

The pressure built on Franken a day after former Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., resigned after numerous allegations of sexual misconduct.

And in Alabama, women have accused Roy Moore, the GOP nominee in a special election for the Senate, of sexual misconduct with them when they were teens, including one who said she was 14 when he molested her. Nonetheless, President Donald Trump — who survived explosive allegations himself of sexual assault during last year's campaign — has endorsed Moore.

There are a total of 16 Democratic women in the Senate. Among the others that have not yet commented are Franken's fellow Minnesotan, Amy Klobuchar. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., is unlikely to call for Franken to resign at this time because she is on the ethics committee, which is investigating him.

A spokesman for Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., had no immediate comment.

Joining the female Democratic senators were Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, Joe Donnelly of Indiana, and Sherrod Brown of Ohio.

"I have listened to them. I have listened to my female colleagues, to women I work with and women in my life," said Brown. "And I agree the time has come for Senator Franken to step aside."

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.

"This allegation is categorically not true and the idea that I would claim this as my right as an entertainer is preposterous," Franken said. "I look forward to fully cooperating with the ongoing ethics committee investigation."

The allegations against Franken began in mid-November when Los Angeles radio anchor Leeann Tweeden accused him of forcibly kissing her during a 2006 USO tour.

Several other allegations have followed, including a woman who says that Franken put his hand on her buttocks during a picture pose 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 op on a USO tour in 2003.

Franken has apologized for his behavior but he has disputed some of the allegations.


Richard Heckler 6 months, 2 weeks ago

Yes there is a lot of activity in the news regarding sexual harassment. It is good thinking to take a closer look at the issue in order to document the many sources of sexual harassment. How pervasive is the issue?


  1. The Battle Against Birth Control

  2. The Contraception Coverage Debate

  3. Intensifying Attacks on Choice

  4. Stopping the Violence Against Women Act

  5. Fighting Equal Pay Laws

  6. Conclusion


Bob Smith 6 months, 2 weeks ago

Democrats have enabled sexual harassment by fellow Democrats for decades. That's the real war on women.

Greg Cooper 6 months, 1 week ago

Again, substitute "politicians" for "Democrats" and you've got the substance of the problem identified. This is not, in the end, a political problem but a humanity problem, and everyone needs to recognize that and address it.

Geoff Ermlap 6 months, 2 weeks ago

Sexual harassment and assault can never be tolerated and perpetrators should face full force of the law. It is often one persons word against another with little evidence (not always) other than that. Dna, witnesses, photos, etc are not always available. One of the biggest crimes would be falsely accusing someone of sexual assault because that undermines the legitimacy of claims by those who have been sexually assaulted. What seems to be playing out is the democrats are pushing for the resignation of those accused while the republicans seem to vote these people into office thus legitimizing the crime itself. I think I would have to side with the democrats on this so far.

Brock Masters 6 months, 1 week ago

Not quite right. The Dems are calling for the resignation of those who have not denied the allegations. Many GOP have been kicked to the curb when allegations were proven

Allegations are not convictions and no one should be punished based on unproven allegations. If we use allegations without convictions then we will see many more innocent people be smeared.

People frequently change their steadfast allegations when put under oth and subject to perjury laws.

Daniel Kennamore 6 months, 1 week ago

So, by your logic, even if they are obviously guilty as long as they deny it all is okay.

So much for conservatives being about taking personal responsibility.

Geoff Ermlap 6 months, 1 week ago

donald trump admitted to sexually assaulting women. He also said he couldn't help himself.

Shirley Domer 6 months, 1 week ago

When will the sexual harassment camera turn on our Harasser in Chief?

Bob Summers 6 months, 1 week ago

Interesting how the Liberal uses bad behavior to justify bad behavior.

I've seen Liberal children use the same technique.

It is not strange or surprising the Liberal child does not grow out of the behavior of using bad behavior to justify their bad behavior.

Greg Cooper 6 months, 1 week ago

Wow, Bob, I've been saying that all along. Thanks. The difference is that your obsessive, and mostly incorrect, use of the term "liberal" is used to divert attention from ANY person or party that doesn't decry this kind of behavior.

Justifying "bad behavior", as you call it, by citing someone else's "bad behavior" does not, in any way, at any time, justify one's own "bad behavior".

Once we all grow up and recognize personal responsibility, interpersonal relationships can become things of rationality. Until then, we will continue to fight against responsibility, compromise, and sensibility in our government and our personal lives.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 6 months, 1 week ago

Funny, how every time we bring up Trump's bad behavior, the so called conservatives try to divert by bringing up Bill Clinton. Yet, we Democrats have condemn Clinton, and they continue to not condemn Trump. Sounds like another case of conservatives blaming others for what they do. I mean, look at the people that Kobach has found committed voter fraud. Most of them were registered Republicans. Projection seems to be a major tactic of conservatives.

Daniel Kennamore 6 months, 1 week ago

Yet another example of how the Dems are the only party of adults.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 6 months, 1 week ago

So, Democrats are taking care of their problems, but Republican are not. As to evidence, Trump has actually bragged and confessed to what he has done. He bragged about going into the dressing rooms of Miss Teen USA, and bragging about the naked girls. The girls even collaborated the story and talked about how uncomfortable it was. Trump should have been arrested on the spot. Trump also also bragged of many lewd acts, and openly committed adultery. He can say he didn't say or do any of these things his accusers are alleging, but he has actually bragged about such behavior. Yet, Republicans continue to worship him. Who really has more integrity? Who really lives by their values?

Gary Stussie 6 months, 1 week ago

"I did not have sexual relations with that woman"

It will be decades before anyone believes that the "Democrats are taking care of their problems" but nice try.

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