Archive for Thursday, December 7, 2017

Franken announces resignation from Senate amid sexual misconduct allegations

Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., his wife Franni, arrive at the Senate to make a statement on charges of sexual misconduct, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., his wife Franni, arrive at the Senate to make a statement on charges of sexual misconduct, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

December 7, 2017, 11:09 a.m. Updated December 7, 2017, 3:27 p.m.

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— Minnesota Sen. Al Franken announced Thursday he will resign from Congress in the coming weeks following a wave of sexual misconduct allegations and the collapse of support from his Democratic colleagues, a swift political fall for a once-rising Democratic star.

"I may be resigning my seat, but I am not giving up my voice," Franken said in the otherwise-hushed Senate chamber.

Franken quit just a day after new allegations brought the number of women alleging misconduct by him to at least eight. On Wednesday, one woman said he forcibly tried to kiss her in 2006, an accusation he vehemently denied. Hours later, another woman said Franken inappropriately squeezed "a handful of flesh" on her waist while posing for a photo with her in 2009.

"I know in my heart that nothing I have done as a senator — nothing — has brought dishonor on this institution," Franken declared Thursday.

Franken is the latest to fall in the national wave of sexual harassment allegations that have brought down powerful men in Hollywood, the media and state capitals across the nation. His announcement followed Tuesday's resignation of Michigan Democratic Rep. John Conyers, the longest-serving member of the House.

Franken, the former comedian who made his name on "Saturday Night Live," had originally sought to weather the allegations, disputing many of the specifics but apologizing to his accusers publicly. He had promised he would cooperate with an ethics investigation and work to regain the trust of Minnesotans.

"Some of the allegations against me are simply not true," Franken said Thursday. "Others I remember quite differently." Still, he said he could not both cooperate with an investigation and fully carry out his duties to his constituents.

Franken, 66, had gained respect as a serious lawmaker in recent years and had even been mentioned in talk about the 2020 presidential race.

Franken pointedly noted that he was being forced out while President Donald Trump — who has been accused of worse offenses and bragged on a leaked "Access Hollywood" videotape of grabbing women by their genitalia — emerged unscathed. Trump has also endorsed Alabama GOP Senate candidate Roy Moore, who has been accused by multiple women of sexual misconduct with them when they were teens and he was a deputy district attorney 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.

His resignation means Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton, a fellow Democrat, will name a temporary replacement. The winner of a special election in November 2018 would serve through the end of Franken's term in January 2021. Among the possibilities is Lt. Gov. Tina Smith, a trusted Dayton ally.

Dayton said after Franken's remarks that he hasn't yet decided on an appointment to fill the seat but expects to announce his decision in the next couple of days.

In a Senate chamber with a funereal atmosphere, several Democratic women, including some who had called for Franken's resignation, sat somberly for Franken's 11-minute speech and embraced him afterward. But they had lost patience with the growing tally of allegations and paved the path for Franken's exit.

"Enough is enough," Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York declared on Wednesday. "We need to draw a line in the sand and say none of it is OK, none of it is acceptable, and we, as elected leaders, should absolutely be held to a higher standard."

A torrent of Democrats quickly followed Gillibrand.

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

Franken has acknowledged and apologized for some inappropriate behavior, but he strongly denied the new 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 woman, who was not identified, told Politico that she ducked to avoid his lips but Franken told her: "It's my right as an entertainer."

Franken said the idea he would claim such conduct as a right was "preposterous."

The allegations against Franken began Nov. 16 when Leeann Tweeden, now a Los Angeles radio anchor, accused him of forcibly kissing her during a 2006 USO tour in Afghanistan.

Other allegations followed, including a woman who says Franken put his hand on her buttocks as they posed for a photo at the Minnesota State Fair in 2010. Two women 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 on a USO tour in 2003.

A special election for Franken's seat in 2018 would seem to favor Democrats. The party nationally is banking on favorable winds since midterm elections are often difficult for the party that holds the White House, and Minnesota Republicans have struggled in recent years to recruit top-tier candidates for statewide office.

Hillary Clinton defeated Trump by just 1.5 points in Democratic-leaning Minnesota, preserving a four-decade run for the party in presidential elections.

Comments

Richard Aronoff 1 week ago

Al Franken is announcing his resignation as I write this. Welcome to Salem. I am not a fan of Sen. Franken. But I am a fan of due process. I am a fan of the accused having the right to face his accusers and to cross examination them in a court of law. In an ironic twist of fate, many of the same politicians who called for his resignation are the same people who established the secret, tax payer funded slush fund to buy off would-be accusers. Four of Franken's accusers are anonymous. The whole thing stinks. I believe Franken has been sacrificed so that the Democrats can hang Roy Moore around the GOP's neck if Moore wins. But it won't work. If Moore,who is a complete horse's ass, wins he must be seated. But after that, Article I, Section 5 of the U.S. Constitution gives the Senate the power to expel a member, provided that a two-thirds majority approves the resolution. Then the governor of Alabama can appoint a replacement and Franken will have been sacrificed for nothing.

Bob Smith 1 week ago

Everyone in Minnesota who voted for that git should hang their heads in shame.

Tracy Rogers 6 days, 23 hours ago

Correction.....draining half the swamp. Still waiting for the drain to be pulled on the other half.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 6 days, 20 hours ago

I won't happen. The supposed "family values" of the Republicans aren't based in morality.

Daniel Kennamore 6 days, 22 hours ago

"I aware of the irony 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 preyed on underage girls is running for the Senate with the full support of his party"

This, in a nutshell, is the difference between the GOP & the Dems.

If you still vote for the GOP you are pro-rape, pro-harassment & pro-pedophilia.

Period. Full Stop.

Gary Stussie 6 days, 21 hours ago

The majority of harassers appear to be DEMs or liberals ... so much for your War on Women argument!

Greg Cooper 6 days, 16 hours ago

Oh, so Regressive harassment would not be a war? Got it.

Phillip Chappuie 6 days, 22 hours ago

Mr. Kennamore in quoting Mr. Franken tells the unsavory story quite succinctly. The President gloats of his conquest and assaults then endorse the pedophile and Justin Hoffman cheers them on. That is just weird and sick.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 6 days, 19 hours ago

And Farenthold hasn't resigned. He is going to pay back the tax dollars to silence his accuser with the tax dollars we give to him for not doing his job. And Joe Barton didn't resign for sending naked photos of himself to a woman. And then there is the Oklahoma senator, Ralph Shortey, who was very anti-LGBT, was caught, not just with a guy, but an underaged boy too. I think sexual harassment is a non partisan problem, except the Republican are a lot more "forgiving" than we are.

Brock Masters 6 days, 22 hours ago

Ya’ll are nuts trying to prove the other side is worse. When it comes to a contest of who is the most depraved dishonest party, GOP or Dems, there is no winner, just a loser, the American people.

Daniel Kennamore 6 days, 21 hours ago

The difference is how it's handled.

Dems actually face the consequences of their actions.

The GOP denies, deflects and lies...and then keep their seats.

If you honestly can't see the difference it really speaks to your ability to view the world without Fox News tainted glasses...and really explains why you're so inept in debating so many issues here.

Gary Stussie 6 days, 20 hours ago

"Dems actually face the consequences of their actions." ... said with a straight face?

We are just starting to see how Dems have avoided consequences and corrupted the entire Executive Branch of government. If Clinton would have won, this entire mess would have been swept under the rug. They will be writing books about the Obama Administration long after Clinton gets out of prison.

Daniel Kennamore 6 days, 20 hours ago

When 'But Clinton would have been worse!!!' is all you have to stand on, you've already lost.

The election is over, but Clinton Derangement Syndrome will apparently never die.

Brock Masters 6 days, 21 hours ago

“The GOP denies, deflects and lies...and then keep their seats.”

Name one GOP Congressman accused of the things that Franken is accused of that has kept their seat?

I can think of a couplle that were forced out. Mark Foley and Larry Craig. Craig was pressured to resign, said he would, but stayed in and didn’t run for re-election.

Maybe I missed one accused of Frankenish deeds, but none come to mind so since you made the statement enlighten me.

BTW Dem Conyer has paid a settlement to cover up a sexual harassment allegation and has been accused by multiple women, but he did not resign.

And of course, you had Ted Kennedy and Barney Frank who had a brothel in his home. Yep, the Dems always take the high road. As I said both parties are bad at this stuff

I find it sad that you feel so compelled to stalk me and attack me personally. It is okay though - your personal attacks are a reflection of you, not me.

Daniel Kennamore 6 days, 20 hours ago

"Name one GOP Congressman accused of the things that Franken is accused of that has kept their seat?"

I like how you specify congressman to avoid the fact that the current occupant of the White House did far worse, has admitted he's sexually assaulted women...and the GOP is totally cool with it.

But if you're looking for one only in congress, how about Blake Farenthold, who used taxpayer money to settle the case against him?

"I find it sad that you feel so compelled to stalk me and attack me personally. It is okay though - your personal attacks are a reflection of you, not me."

Oh honey, it's just that there is nary an article that you DON'T comment on. It's not stalking someone if they're in nearly every article you open.

That said, if the only people that consistently agreed with me were the Bob's I'd really take a step back and look at my positions. What I find sad is that you are not even able of considering such introspection.

Brock Masters 6 days, 20 hours ago

As I said, there could be some. In fact there are probably a lot of them since many have used taxpayer dollars to settle which just makes my original point valid. Both parties are worthless.

You’re the one that stated seat - the president doesn’t hold a seat so that is why I said Congressman. However, if I wanted to eliminate Trump, I could have simply referenced Clinton since he didn’t resign when he committed sexual harassment.

“Honey?” Really? How weird to refer to a man as honey, but okay.

Bob doesn’t agree with me, but it doesn’t matter because I’m not posting to get thumbs up.

I respond to you without insults because I am confident in who I am and don’t need to make 3rd grade attacks against you. It is the attacker, the name caller, who looks badly when they resort to ad hominem attacks to bolster their point of view.

Serious question - does it make you feel good about yourself to attack me personally? Do you really think saying I am inept makes it so? Does it bolster yours self-esteem - make you big man on campus? Just wondering why not just focus your energy on attacking my position instead of trolling?

Daniel Kennamore 6 days, 20 hours ago

"However, if I wanted to eliminate Trump, I could have simply referenced Clinton since he didn’t resign when he committed sexual harassment."

I don't see how something that happened two decades ago is relevant to what's currently happening. Again, how sad for you that you're forced to do such mental gymnastics to avoid dealing with the fact that Trump & the rest of the CURRENT GOP are so morally bankrupt.

"Just wondering why not just focus your energy on attacking my position instead of trolling."

I do respond to real points you make. It's just that 90% of your 'points' are Fox News BS, ad hominems or whataboutisms. I also ignore your attempts to deflect and change the topic.

It's not my fault you have trouble developing an argument more sophisticated than High School debate teams.

Brock Masters 6 days, 20 hours ago

True to form Danny resort to more name calling.

As far as mental gymnastics consider that my post that started this was saying the GOP are depraved and dishonest and now you twist things to suggest I am defending the GOP.

You’re angry at me because I made you look foolish when I pointed out your lack of knowledge of guns. I’m sorry, I wasn’t trying to make you look foolish, I was simply countering your point, but in retrospect I see I should have framed it different.

I doubt you will get over it so go ahead and continue to attack me. Just please don’t call me honey, it weirds me out. Yuck 🤢

Something to consider. I engage in debates with many posters on here. We disagree on issues but you’re the only one that attacks me personally. What does that say about you?

I don’t engage in these debates to win, but really to offer a dissenting point of view and to learn from the others. Ken for example differs with me regularly but I learn from him and I hope he does from me too.

Try being respectful - it is easy.

Daniel Kennamore 6 days, 19 hours ago

I really don't have any interest in addressing your replies if it's going to be a wall of text whining about how the mean man hurt your feelings.

Your claims that you've somehow made me look foolish or won the debate by default are much like a great Game of Thrones quote:

"Any man who must say he is King, is not one."

So take your self congratulations (that nobody that didn't agree with you beforehand thinks you deserve) and have a good night.

Harlan Hobbs 6 days, 20 hours ago

The lead comment by Mr. Aronoff says it all, and quite well. I also abhor Mr. Franken, but I also believe in the rule of law that says a person is entitled to face his/her accusers.

As for the Democrats like Mr. Kennamore and others, you have permanently forfeited your rights to take the "moral high ground" given your defense of Bill Clinton for more than 30 years. If the same standards had been set for "Slick Willie", he would have been thrown out of office as a Governor, never to be heard from again.

As for the Roy Moore situation, I have two observations. First, it seems curious that there haven't been any new accusations with the past couple of weeks. Surely, every stone has been upturned by both the Dems and the establishment Republicans to find additional accusers. The same goes for President Trump.

Other than the "Access Hollywood" tape (in which no admissions were made), there have been no credible complaints put forward within the last year despite the "carnivorous" undertakings by the so called main stream media and the Democrats.

The second observation regarding Roy Moore is that the Washington Post just did a poll of white women in Alabama, and to their total shock and surprise, 60% said that they would likely vote for Mr. Moore. Of course, to the left, they all are now not only racist, but I guess sexist too.

Meanwhile, the swamp is being drained bit by bit, and none of it would have happened if the Cruella DeVille of American politics, Hillary Clinton, had been elected.

I predict that the Dems will now turn further and further to the left, basically making the traditional Democrats irrelevant.

Daniel Kennamore 6 days, 20 hours ago

"As for the Democrats like Mr. Kennamore and others, you have permanently forfeited your rights to take the "moral high ground" given your defense of Bill Clinton for more than 30 years."

Yeah, I never voted for Bill Clinton...so throw that mud elsewhere.

Brock Masters 6 days, 20 hours ago

I abhor Franken too, but I think he shouldn’t of resigned. He should let the voters decide. There is a difference in committing an act in office and one before you got there. Just how many years should we go back? People change, they mature they repent. Judge them on who they are today, not what happened years ago - not saying voters can’t consider the past, but few are saints.

Tracy Rogers 6 days ago

What happened with Trump saying he was going to sue each and every one of his accusers during the campaign?? Haven't seen even ONE lawsuit filed against any of them.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 6 days, 19 hours ago

I still haven't heard all the Trumpsters twisted logic to forgive their lord and master and why he shouldn't resign. And I dare you to do it with out mentioning Clinton or Obama. Or for that matter without mentioning anyone else? Bet you can't do it. Who will take the challenge.

Brock Masters 6 days, 19 hours ago

Trump should not resign because all the allegations are prior to his being elected. Let him be convicted of something illegal while in office and I will be there with you calling for his resignation.

The voters knew who he was and voted for him so why should he resign?

Richard Aronoff 6 days, 19 hours ago

OK Dorothy. I accept your dare. Let's look at the Access Hollywood tape.

From the New York Times transcript:

Trump: I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.

First, notice that he says, "JUST kiss." Then he points out, as Suzanne Summers pointed out in her interview with Megyn Kelly, "And when you're a star, they let you do it." Ms. Summers said that because it was an "open secret" in Hollywood, many of Weinstien's current accusers knew exactly what the were getting into when they went to see him. In other words, they let him do it.

Finally, Trump says to Billie Bush, "YOU can do anything." He never said he did anything other than "Just kiss."

On the witness stand, a first year law student could carve up the aforementioned Mr. Bush like a Thanksgiving turkey.

Now, imagine if a reporter from some right-wing publication like Breitbart produced four anonymous sources -- former female students of yours -- who claimed YOU molested them twenty years ago. Those women are supposed to be believed, right? What would you do? How would you defend yourself against anonymous sources,.

Greg Cooper 6 days, 18 hours ago

That, Richard is a convoluted way of defining words as you want rather than as they were meant. For instance, if you asked how one were to build a widget, I might reply that, "Well, you take this little doodad, screw it onto that bigger doodad, paint it blue and go down the road from there". The generic "you" didn't mean Richard, it meant whoever was going to build the widget. Going down the road didn't mean get the hell out of my workshop, it meant you were done building the widget. You can define words and phrases in any way you want, but context is everything. And "just kissing" someone who has not invited it is not just a phrase, but an admission of wrongdoing, and you know it. And Chump's sources were not anonymous, in the tape, they were him. God, how can you defend that?

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 6 days, 15 hours ago

He did walk into the dressing rooms of the Miss Teen candidates. He bragged about it, and the girls confirmed the creepy event. He should have been arrested on the spot, but he is rich, so he wasn't. He also openly committed adultery and tried to get a married woman to commit adultery. You left out part of what he said didn't you? (2 words edited to make them acceptable)

Donald J. Trump: You know and ...

Unknown: She used to be great. She’s still very beautiful.

Trump: I moved on her, actually. You know, she was down on Palm Beach. I moved on her, and I failed. I’ll admit it.

Unknown: Whoa.

Trump: I did try and f*** her. She was married.

Unknown: That’s huge news.

Trump: No, no, Nancy. No, this was [unintelligible] — and I moved on her very heavily. In fact, I took her out furniture shopping.

She wanted to get some furniture. I said, “I’ll show you where they have some nice furniture.” I took her out furniture —

I moved on her like a b****. But I couldn’t get there. And she was married. Then all of a sudden I see her, she’s now got the big phony tits and everything. She’s totally changed her look.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 6 days, 15 hours ago

Other creepy immoral things about Trump. But, hey, you evangelicals keep on worshipping him:

"Now, somebody who a lot of people don't give credit to but in actuality is really beautiful is Paris Hilton. I've known Paris Hilton from the time she's 12, her parents are friends of mine, and the first time I saw her she walked into the room and I said, 'Who the hell is that?'"

"What do you think of Lindsay Lohan? There's something there, right? But you have to like freckles. I've seen a close-up of her chest. And a lot of freckles. Are you into freckles? ... She's probably deeply troubled, and therefore great in bed. How come the deeply troubled women — deeply, deeply troubled — they're always the best in bed?"

She does have a very nice figure...if [she] weren't my daughter, perhaps I'd be dating her." [June 4, 2004]

"Well, I think that she's got a lot of Marla. She's a really beautiful baby, and she's got Marla's legs." Motioning to his chest, Trump added: "We don't know whether she's got this part yet, but time will tell."

“It's certainly not groundbreaking news that the early victories by the women on The Apprentice were, to a very large extent, dependent on their sex appeal." [2004]

"My life was so great in so many ways. The business was so great... a beautiful girlfriend, a beautiful wife, a beautiful everything. Life was just a bowl of cherries," he says later in the interview.(1994)

Bob Summers 6 days, 18 hours ago

Trump behaved like a guy that can woo a female.

Franken behaved like it was his first time with any female and didn't know the difference from wooing and sexual assault.

I mean face it. Franken is a weirdo.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 6 days, 1 hour ago

A married woman? That is adultery. Look it up. And some of those naked girls were only 15 years old.

Richard Aronoff 6 days, 16 hours ago

Remember when Mike Pence was mocked by the main stream media for saying he would never be alone with a woman who was not his wife? Turns out that's pretty good advice for men in Hollywood and Washington.

Greg Cooper 6 days, 2 hours ago

Wow, I really feel as if you put me in my place, Richard. Jeez, how can I be so stupid as to read words as they were meant rather than as how my protective philosophy dictates. I'm so sorry i even said anything. Can you ever forgive me? I'll try not to call out anyone who purposely misinterprets any statement just so it fits his or her philosophical failings. Sorry.

Comment in reply to comment below. Now I am sorry. Not a wizard at computers.

Richard Aronoff 6 days, 16 hours ago

No worries, Greg. The CDC is working on a vaccine for your disorder.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 6 days, 15 hours ago

Trump has done a lot in just one speech to recruit all kinds of terrorists.

Bob Summers 6 days, 14 hours ago

You're kidding!

There's terrorism in the Middle East?

Richard Aronoff 6 days, 13 hours ago

Dorothy: you are rapidly becoming a caricature of yourself. Clinton, Obama and Bush all campaigned on declaring Jerusalem to be Israel's capitol. None of them made good on the promise. The Hamas charter already calls for the death of all Jews in the world. So what now, they're going to include the entire solar system?

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 6 days, 1 hour ago

They didn't make good on it, because they became president and found out what would happen if they did. Once you get all the facts, you are allowed to change your mind, unless you are a radical with tunnel vision.

Bob Smith 6 days, 5 hours ago

The Frankenweasel managed to avoid taking any responsibility for what he'd done and didn't actually say when he'd be leaving the Senate in disgrace.

Gary Stussie 5 days, 20 hours ago

I'm betting Franken is not going anywhere. Judson Berger has an interesting theory:

Democratic leaders, who demanded Franken’s resignation earlier this week (to suggest they have the moral high ground), are gearing up for an epic battle with Republicans over Moore’s seating should he win.

Here’s where Franken makes his move. Amid that political melee, the theory goes, Franken, D-Minn., could argue his alleged misdeeds are lesser than Moore’s and so he should remain.

Why would DEM leadership want Franken to stay?

Sen. Al Franken's seat wasn't supposed to be up again until 2020. But his announcement Thursday that he was resigning amid allegations of sexual misconduct sets up a 2018 special election in Minnesota.

There are a couple of marginal Democrats who might be temporarily seated but the Republicans, who hold a 52-48 senate majority, have several top-tier candidates ready for 2018 in a politically competitive state where President Donald Trump lost by less than 2 percentage points last year (former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and former Rep. Michele Bachmann) .

I, for one, would love to see Michele Bachman in the Senate ... sharp lady!

Gary Stussie 4 days, 23 hours ago

Like Dorothy, the media went nuts when President Trump announced Wednesday that the U.S. recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and will begin the process of relocating the American embassy there.

CBS Correspondent Seth Doane warned of violence on a global scale: “There are concerns about violence not only here and across the Middle East, but this also could provide rationale for terrorist attacks in the West as well.”

CNN Global Affairs Analyst Aaron David Miller said President Trump’s action was like hitting Palestinians “over the head with a hammer.”

ABC described it as President Trump “reversing nearly seven decades of U.S. policy.” The network paid no heed to the law Congress passed 22 years ago making it U.S. policy to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

NBC’s Chief Foreign Correspondent Richard Engel was especially apocalyptic. “I think a lot of countries are going to look at this and say the president took a dangerous foreign policy decision that has real world consequences, could – can cost lives for domestic reasons,” he told the MSNBC crowd. He also called it “profoundly unsettling.”

MSNBC’s Chris Matthews warned, “By the way, deaths are coming now because of this.”

This FREAK-OUT came despite the fact that Congress overwhelmingly passed bipartisan legislation in 1995 stating that “the United States Embassy in Israel should be established in Jerusalem no later than May 31, 1999.” And in June this year the Senate voted 90-0 to approve a resolution stating that “Jerusalem should remain the undivided capital of Israel.”

On top of that, candidate Trump promised many times during his presidential campaign that he would do exactly what he announced Wednesday.

When was the last time a politician actually did something he promised to do?

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