Alice Ollstein and Cameron Joseph contributed reporting
Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Sen. Al Franken’s fellow senator representing Minnesota, stopped short of calling for Franken to resign over mounting sexual misconduct allegations on Wednesday. But she appeared to suggest that Franken would resign this week.
Numerous female Democratic senators on Wednesday called for Franken to resign from the Senate after a new accuser came forward alleging that Franken tried to forcibly kiss her in 2006 after a taping of his radio show. Apparently prompted by a small group of women senators, several male Democratic senators joined the chorus of lawmakers calling for Franken to resign on Wednesday. In a matter of hours, more than 20 Democratic senators called for Franken to step aside.
Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) was one of the Democrats to call for Franken to resign — in spite of their longstanding friendship. Franken was among the first people to visit her at a veterans hospital when she was recovering from severe wounds after her helicopter was shot down in Iraq, and they became friends long before she stepped into the political arena.
“I’m devastated. I’m devastated to have to ask him to do this but I’m also devastated that a dear friend of mine could have conducted himself in such a horrible manner,” she told TPM, saying they’d met when she was a “wounded warrior” at the Walter Reed Medical Center.
“It’s devastating. Yes, he’s my friend. And I’m deeply disappointed in the behavior — but he’s still my friend,” she continued.
Following the wave of calls for his resignation, Franken’s office said Wednesday afternoon that the senator will make an announcement on Thursday, though Franken’s office did not specify the topic of the announcement.
In calling for Franken to step down, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) also predicted that Franken would resign.
Since mid-November, several women have come forward to accuse Franken of groping or forcibly kissing them. The wave of allegations began with Leeann Tweeden, who said that Franken aggressively kissed her while they were abroad entertaining the troops and groped her in her sleep.
Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) told reporters Wednesday afternoon that if Franken is indeed stepping down Thursday, he is “doing the right thing.” Flake added that he is concerned Republicans are losing moral high ground with Democrats in light of Democrats calling on Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) and Franken to step down.
“I’ve been concerned about that for a while, with Roy Moore certainly, but gratefully almost all our colleagues have said that he should step aside in the race.”
Many Republicans, however, have reverted to saying the race should be left up to Alabama voters.
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