Minority Leader Schumer to Franken: ‘Step down immediately’
by Evan Wilt
Posted 12/06/17, 05:46 pm
UPDATE: Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York has joined other Senate Democrats in calling for Sen. Al Franken to resign after a seventh woman stepped forward earlier in the day accusing the Democrat from Minnesota of inappropriate behavior. “I consider Senator Franken a dear friend and greatly respect his accomplishments, but he has a higher obligation to his constituents and the Senate, and he should step down immediately,” Schumer said in a statement. Franken plans to make an announcement on Thursday.
UPDATE (12:18 p.m.): A steady stream of Senate Democrats on Wednesday asked Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., to resign amid multiple accusations of sexual misconduct. Within minutes of each other, Patty Murray of Washington, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire, Kamala Harris of California, Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, and Joe Donnelly of Indiana issued statements saying Franken should step down. The statements followed a Wednesday morning report of a seventh woman accusing Franken of inappropriate behavior. “I’m shocked and appalled by Senator Franken’s behavior,” Murray tweeted. “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.” Hirono said she wrestled with the decision because she considers Franken a good lawmaker and a friend, “but that cannot excuse his behavior and his mistreatment of women.” The Senate already launched an ethics investigation into Franken, who said he plans to fully comply. So far, Franken has dismissed the idea of leaving Congress amid the accusations, but that was before his colleagues requested his resignation.
OUR EARLIER REPORT (11:31 a.m.): WASHINGTON—A seventh woman publicly accused Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., on Wednesday of inappropriate behavior, claiming he tried to forcibly kiss her. A former Democratic aide told Politico she met Franken at a taping of his radio show in 2006, two years before he won his U.S. Senate seat. She claims Franken unexpectedly tried to kiss her after her boss left the studio. When she rejected his advances, she said Franken told her, “It’s my right as an entertainer.” Franken denied the accusation. “This allegation is categorically not true, and the idea that I would claim this as my right as an entertainer is preposterous,” he said in a statement responding to the report. “I look forward to fully cooperating with the ongoing ethics committee investigation.” Last month, Los Angeles radio news anchor Leeann Tweeden accused Franken of kissing without her consent during a USO tour in 2006. She also released a photo of Franken groping her while she slept on an airplane. Since then, other women, some anonymously, have said Franken either tried to kiss them or touched them inappropriately while posing for photos. The Senate launched an ethics review last month, and Franken said he planned to fully comply with the investigation. So far, no Senate Democrats have asked Franken to resign. He apologized to Tweeden and said he’s ashamed, but he has no plans to step down.
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Evan is a reporter for WORLD Digital based in Washington, D.C.