More than a dozen senators call for Franken to resign

By Allen Cone and Danielle Haynes  |  Updated Dec. 6, 2017 at 6:33 PM
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Dec. 6 (UPI) -- More than a dozen Democratic senators called for Al Franken to resign Wednesday after several women said he harassed them or engaged in sexual misconduct.

Franken's office said on Twitter the Minnesota senator will make a statement Thursday, with "more details to come."

Minnesota Public Radio reported Franken plans to resign, citing a Democratic official, but the senator denied it on Twitter.

If Franken resigns, Democratic Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton would appoint a replacement to serve until the November 2018 election.

Senators who released statements calling for his resignation Wednesday included Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire, Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, Kamala Harris of California, Patty Murray of Washington, Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Richard Durbin of Illinois, Bob Casey of Pennsylvania and Elizabeth Warren.

"While Senator Franken is entitled to have the Ethics Committee conclude its review, I believe 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," Gillibrand wrote on Facebook.

"Enough is enough," she added. "The women who have come forward are brave and I believe them."

Senate Democratic leader Charles Schumer of New York said he told Franken "straight up" he needs to resign during a meeting with the senator and his wife at Schumer's apartment.

Murray wrote in a series of postings on Twitter, "I'm shocked and appalled by Sen. Franken's behavior. 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."

Murray is the highest-ranking woman in the Senate.

Last month, Leeann Tweeden, a radio news anchor in Los Angeles, first accused Franken of forcibly kissing her and groping her breast while she was sleeping in 2006 at a USO show for service members. Franken, a former performer and writer on Saturday Night Live, was elected to the Senate in 2008.

Seven additional women have come forward, including an unnamed former Democratic congressional aide who told Politico that Franken tried to forcibly kiss her after taping his radio show in 2006

Franken has apologized for his behavior and asked for an ethics investigation into his actions.

Tuesday, Michigan Rep.John Conyers, also accused of sexual misconduct, announced his immediate retirement after calls from his own party to quit.

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