- Democratic senators are urging Sen. Al Franken to resign amid sexual misconduct allegations.
- After the resignation calls, Franken's office said the senator would make an announcement on Thursday.
- The Minnesota Democrat vehemently denies the latest accusation against him — by a woman who says he tried to forcibly kiss her in 2006.
More than 25 Democratic senators and the party's chief urged Sen. Al Franken to resign Wednesday following the latest sexual misconduct allegation against him.
After the resignation calls, Franken's office said the senator would make an "announcement" on Thursday. It didn't elaborate.
Earlier Wednesday, Politico reported that a former Democratic congressional aide is accusing the Minnesota Democrat of forcibly trying to kiss her 11 years ago, adding to a string of allegations against him.
In a statement before Democratic women started the calls for his resignation, Franken denied the latest accusation against him.
In a succession of statements Wednesday, more than 25 of Franken's Senate Democratic colleagues — about half of the party's caucus — pushed for him to step down. Among them were Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York, Dick Durbin of Illinois and Patty Murray of Washington, the top ranking Senate Democrats.
"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.
Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez also tweeted that Franken should step down.
In addition, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he does not believe Franken "can effectively serve the people of Minnesota in the U.S. Senate any longer." Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, also said Franken should resign.
In the statements, the senators used words like "egregious" and "unacceptable" to describe Franken's behavior.
The unidentified former aide who spoke to Politico said the incident took place after a taping of Franken's radio show, before he was a senator.
"'It's my right as an entertainer,'" the woman says Franken told her after she avoided his kiss.
In response to the claim, Franken said: "This allegation is categorically not true and the idea that I would claim this as my right as an entertainer is preposterous. I look forward to fully cooperating with the ongoing ethics committee investigation."
Franken is among multiple members of Congress who have faced harassment accusations recently. Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., stepped down Tuesday after more than 50 years in Congress following former staffers' allegations of misconduct.
The push for Franken's resignation also comes as ex-Judge Roy Moore runs for Senate in Alabama amid allegations of sexual misconduct with teenagers when he was in his 30s decades ago.
Time magazine on Wednesday named "The Silence Breakers" — those who have come forward with their stories about being victims of pervasive sexual harassment — as 2017 Person of the Year.
Here are the Democratic senators who have called for him to step down:
- Chuck Schumer of New York
- Dick Durbin on Illinois
- Patty Murray of Washington
- Kirsten Gillibrand of New York
- Mazie Hirono of Hawaii
- Claire McCaskill of Missouri
- Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire
- Kamala Harris of California
- Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin
- Debbie Stabenow of Michigan
- Bob Casey of Pennsylvania
- Joe Donnelly of Indiana
- Sherrod Brown of Ohio
- Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota
- Ed Markey of Massachusetts
- Michael Bennet of Colorado
- Patrick Leahy of Vermont
- Maria Cantwell of Washington
- Dianne Feinstein of California
- Jeff Merkley of Oregon
- Tammy Duckworth of Illinois
- Martin Heinrich of New Mexico
- Ron Wyden of Oregon
- Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts
- Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island
- Chris Murphy of Connecticut
- Bernie Sanders of Vermont (independent who caucuses with Democrats)
- Angus King of Maine (independent who caucuses with Democrats)