Democrat says he expects Al Franken to resign Thursday
WASHINGTON — A top Senate Democrat says he expects Sen. Al Franken to resign on Thursday over allegations of sexual misconduct.
In a tweet Wednesday, Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon said that Franken is expected to announce his resignation on Thursday. Wyden tweeted that “It is the right thing to do given this series of serious allegations.”
Franken, however, responded in a tweet that no final decision had been made and that he was still talking with his family.
Female senators are calling on Franken to resign.
In Facebook posts and Tweets, the women said the two-term senator should step aside after a fresh allegation that he forcibly tried to kiss a woman in 2006.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand wrote on Facebook that while 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.”
Sens. Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire, Patty Murray of Washington state and Claire McCaskill of Missouri joined Gillibrand in pressing for Franken to quit.
The senator is facing other allegations that he groped women.
On Wednesday, Sen. Franken denied a new sexual misconduct accusation that came from a former Democratic congressional aide that 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 by name, 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.”
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.