Dec 6, 2017, 5:14 PM ET

Franken to make announcement Thursday as chorus grows for his resignation


Sen. Al Franken is set to make an announcement Thursday, according to his office, as more than a dozen Democratic senators called on him today to resign amid multiple allegations of sexual misconduct.

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At least 38 senators have called for Franken’s resignation, including Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire, Kamala Harris of California, Patty Murray of Washington, Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin and Claire McCaskill of Missouri.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said the Minnesota Democrat should step down immediately.

“Senator Franken should resign," Schumer said. "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.”

A Democratic source on Capitol Hill familiar with the developments told ABC News that some of the female Democratic senators have been in contact for quite some time regarding the path forward for Sen. Franken. Today's action was a result of mounting frustrations over the increasing number of accusations.

Sen. Bob Casey, D-Penn. was the first male senator to join his female colleagues in calling for Franken to step down, and since then, Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind, Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, Ed Markey, D-Mass., Michael Bennet, D-Colo., Dick Durbin, D-Ill, among others, joined those calls.

Tom Perez, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, also said Franken should step down.

Franken has denied some of the allegations and apologized for others made against him. During a press conference last week outside his Senate office, Franken said he would be "more careful in these encounters or in these situations" but that he would not resign.

“So, I have spent a lot of time reflecting on Senator Franken’s behavior. Enough is enough. The women who have come forward are brave and I believe them,” Sen. Gillibrand said in a Facebook post.

PHOTO: Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) speaks during a news conference on Dec. 6, 2017, on Capitol Hill. Alex Wong/Getty Images
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) speaks during a news conference on Dec. 6, 2017, on Capitol Hill.

Gillibrand said she also expects there will be more allegations of sexual assault against Congressional members.

“In politics, of course, the problem of sexual harassment and sexual assault is not limited to any one party. There have been Democrats and Republicans accused of misconduct, and I have no doubt that there will be more because Congress is not immune to this scourge,” she wrote.

“It is clear that Al Franken has engaged in a pattern of egregious and unacceptable behavior toward women, and he should resign. We are experiencing a sea change in our culture that is long overdue, and we must continue working to empower all women and do everything we can to prevent sexual harassment, misconduct, and assault,” Sen. Hassan said in a statement Wednesday.

The push for Franken to resign comes after another anonymous woman told Politico Wednesday that Franken attempted to forcibly kiss her in 2006 after a taping of his radio show and said, “‘It’s my right as an entertainer.'”

ABC News has not independently verified the anonymous woman's account.

Franken denied the allegation as “categorically not true” and “preposterous.”

“This allegation is categorically not true and the idea that I would claim this as my right as an entertainer is preposterous,” Franken said in a statement Wednesday.

The Minnesota Democrat, who’s served in the Senate since 2009, said he looks forward to “fully cooperating” with the ongoing Senate Ethics Committee investigation into the allegations.

The former Democratic aide’s story mirrors that of Los Angeles radio host Leeann Tweeden, who was the first to go public with her allegation in November.

Tweeden accused Franken of forcibly kissing her in 2006, while they were practicing a skit as part of a U.S.O tour to entertain U.S. troops in Afghanistan. During the time of the alleged incident, Franken was a well-known comedian, famous for being a cast member on the comedy sketch show “Saturday Night Live.” Tweeden also said Franken groped her without consent while she was sleeping. She released a photograph of Franken appearing to place his hands on her chest while she was sleeping on a military plane on their return trip from the USO tour.

Franken apologized to Tweeden but said that he didn’t remember the rehearsal for the skit in the same way.

Since Tweeden, at least six other women have accused Franken of inappropriate behavior. Of the seven women making accusations against Franken, four have asked to remain anonymous.

PHOTO: A combination photo showing, top row from left: Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA). Bottom row from left: Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO).AP/Getty Images
A combination photo showing, top row from left: Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA). Bottom row from left: Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO).

Before the female senators, a few House Democrats, including House Democratic Caucus Chair Joe Crowley, D-N.Y., had already called on Franken to resign.

Another woman, Lindsay Menz, alleged Franken grabbed her backside while taking a photo at the Minnesota state fair in 2010.

“My husband steps away from us to take the photo. I stand next to Sen. Franken and he pulls me into him and then he moves his hand to my butt,” Menz, 33 told ABC News last month. “I was shocked.”

She added, “I was surprised and kind of wondering, did that really just happen?”

After reports of multiple women recalling similar incidents, Franken released a statement saying, “I’ve met tens of thousands of people and taken thousands of photographs, often in crowded and chaotic situations. I’m a warm person; I hug people. I’ve learned from recent stories that in some of those encounters, I crossed a line for some women -- and I know that any number is too many.

The list of senators calling for Franken to resign includes:

  • Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis.
  • Michael Bennet, D-Colo.
  • Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio
  • Maria Cantwell,D-Wash.
  • Tom Carper, D-Del.
  • Bob Casey, D-Penn.
  • Corey Booker, D-N.J.
  • Susan Collins, R-Maine
  • Joe Donnelly, D-Ind.
  • Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill.
  • Dick Durbin, D-Ill.
  • Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.
  • Deb Fischer, R-Neb.
  • Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y.
  • Kamala Harris, D-Calif.
  • Maggie Hassan, D-N.H.
  • Martin Heinrich, D-N.M.
  • Heidi Heitkamp, D- N.D.
  • Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii
  • Angus King, I-Maine (caucuses with Democrats)
  • Patrick Leahy, D-Vt.
  • Ed Markey, D-Mass.
  • Claire McCaskill, D-Mo.
  • Jeff Merkley, D-Ore.
  • Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska
  • Chris Murphy, D-Conn.
  • Patty Murray, D-Wash.
  • Gary Peters, D-Mich.
  • Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. (caucuses with Democrats)
  • Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.
  • Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich.
  • Jon Tester, D-Mo.
  • Tom Udall, D-N.M.
  • Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.
  • Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I.
  • Ron Wyden, D-Ore.

ABC News' Mary Bruce contributed to this report.

News - Franken to make announcement Thursday as chorus grows for his resignation

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  • Another commenter

    Not sorry he's resigning. Wish men who claim to support women would get a clue. Now. It's time for Republican growers and pedophiles to go. At least Frankenstein victims were adult women, not teenagers.

  • writergal

    Franken is resigning - it was just announced.

    The GOP says "Thanks for the lack of a Democratic vote. Makes it easier for us to pass our crappy legislation!"

    Roy Moore says "Thanks for giving people a target. Now I can say that Democrats are just a bunch of losers and quitters!"

    Trump says, "Thanks for giving me a target too, I should be able to make examples of you and Conyers for months. You're losing your seats and my boy's going to get elected. I win again!"

    Some people are saying he's doing it because it puts pressure on the GOP Congress to do something about Moore and Trump. Of course, it won't. They'll just talk about what a quitter Franken is, how it's obvious he was guilty because he quit, and that just proves Moore and Trump are innocent of the charges against them because they AREN'T quitting. Franken just gave them a huge win, plus he was one of the few Democrats who really went after the jerks Trump put in charge of the country.

    It's a win for the Dark Side, and a real loss for America. It's depressing.

  • empirewacksback

    There just is no real equivalency between what Franken did and what the others did. This is some attempt to stake out a moral high ground that nobody will win an election on. If somebody does win on this issue I will be greatly surprised. Franken aside from the obvious gag photo (wrong because done with sleeping person) has done nothing, if all allegations were true, comparable to Conyers, Moore, and all the others. It just frustrates me when all sorts of other [email protected]$$ legislation is going through to put some much attention on him. It is just sickening.


    He seems too narcissistic to resign.

  • Erwin Schrodinger

    .... and yet Moore is still running and hoping to be elected. Can the difference between parties be any more stark?

  • nitenurse22

    Franken displayed 7th grade junior high behavior in his 50s towards these women. He's been married a long time and I'm sure his wife is appalled by his inappropriate sexual behavior. His past behavior has been exposed and his respect greatly diminished. So I could see no other way than to resign. It's a shame but I could you ever go back to work again?

  • Thomas

    I am waiting for the first accusations against a female member of congress. I wonder how that will be treated?

  • John LaVoy

    I used to tap the old joke " I am not a member of an organized political party: I am a Democrat." As of yesterday, I shelved the joke because I left the Party. I just have no interest in being in a Party this damn stupid. And that is NOT a joke. I have stuffed envelopes, donated time and money, made phone calls, knocked on doors, and fought ten thousand internet battles, all for Democrat Party principles. But a party this self-destructive and stupid cannot be supported.

    They could have called for Franken's resignation and still turned it into a winning issue, with more forceful, detailed statements about the President. Instead, they decided on a suicide mission.

    Franken should not resign. I urge him to make a short, sweet statement. "Some of the allegations are partly accurate. I have apologized for that behavior and invited a full investigation. I will walk out of government service when the President walks with me."

  • Paul Agostini

    If he does resign, the democrat governor of Minnesota will appoint another dem, but if I were Franken, I would wait until after the Alabama election and if Moore wins, announce that he'll resign as soon as Trump and Moore resign.

  • dblu2

    Even Kamala the Ugandan Giant has said he's got to go. C ya hump

  • Tazz2

    This is a prime example of why Donald Trump is in office; Complete and utter incompetence, every single one of the Senators that are asking a true leader of the Democratic Party to resign over things that happened over seven years ago when he was a comedian.
    This is not about a dispute at a PTA meeting, this is about all Americans, this is about a time when there could easily be a political coup that has and is in the process of happening right now and for this trivial ass grabbing to be the juggernaut of the GOP to destroy all semblance of our fore Fathers vision is utter self serving misogyny. Do not destroy humanity over some comedians drool and in so doing let evil prevail.

    Let me see... a few women getting flush for hanging out with a loud mouth comedian or Holocaust starters and Constitution destroyers getting away with mayhem and murder all for tax free profit...? Let me see... Wait, wait do not coach me.... there is a right answer I know it…

  • H. P. Hazard

    Time to pull the handle and blow the canopy, Al! Eject your stupid face out of the ship because it's falling apart. Oh, no guarantee on the parachute deploying, sorry (well not really) ; > )

  • Red Hawk

    In Frankin case, Minnesota has a Democrat governor, so AL's replacement will be a Democrat

  • boyscout

    In our present time of darkness where everything is upside down and evil people are in charge and liars and deniers are hailed as good and good people are being outed and lies are considered truth, if I were franken I would not resign. He is one of the few not afraid to stand up for fair and right things. But I guess the majority which follows the fake teachings would rather see things play out in colorful violent false created prophecies

  • Badger land 2

    The timing is perfect. Be sure to wait for Franken to mention Roy Moore often in his resignation announcement....

  • angelfire1712

    those senators trying to push our senator from Minnesota out are making a big mistake. The push back from MN voters is great. We voted Franken in knowing his past comedic issues..he's stood for the people of MN strong. Tweeden, exhibitionist gone fox sports announcer with glasses, allegations you could shoot holes in but poor incompetant investigative journalism ruled the internet frenzy and y'all bought it. Then the spurious other accusations that had no back up..but because they're women, we believe they've been scarred for life and Tina Dupuy's experience of Franken squeezing her waist twice is a perfect example, imo, of female hysteria. A woman who grew up in a religous cult alcohlic parent family, no affection, later sent to a foster home said, "I wouldn't let my husband touch me like that in public because that demeans my professionalism'. OMG...this woman needs professional help. Thank god Franken didn't give her a bear hug...she would have left the venue screaming in terror uttering ...'he knew what he was doing...he tried to feel me up'. Give me a break. #AlFrainken2020..the great senator, the peoples senator from Minnesota.

  • A_Cole

    about time, duh! though this entire protest against this pig is all for show. we're not stupid. franken finally decided to throw in the towel, so you all got together and said 'ok. we'll all come out against you the day before you make your announcement about stepping down. this way we'll be able to score some points with the public and make it look like WE forced you to step down. ok?' and franken, who has nothing left to lose, says 'yeah, that's a good plan. what's in it for me?' well, he probably gets to keep his taxpayer provided pension and a few more goodies. he probably gets his job back on SNL as well. good riddance pervert! and good riddance to your pervert buddy, conyers.


    As long as trump is still there don't quit either.