Democratic senators came out in droves Wednesday calling for Sen. Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenDemocrats turn on Al Franken Schumer called, met with Franken and told him to resign Overnight Finance: Trump says shutdown 'could happen' | Ryan, conservatives inch closer to spending deal | Senate approves motion to go to tax conference | Ryan promises 'entitlement reform' in 2018 MORE> (D-Minn.) to resign following multiple accusations of groping and improper sexual conduct.
The charge was led by women in the Senate, seven of whom came out with successive statements seemingly in coordination calling for Franken to step down.
"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," Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth GillibrandDemocrats turn on Al Franken Report: Franken will resign Thursday Minnesota's largest newspaper calls on Franken to resign MORE> (D-N.Y.), the first out with a statement, said in a message posted on Facebook.
The statements mark a shift for Democratic senators who previously dodged calls for Franken to resign despite a growing number of allegations against him. As recently as last week they said they were waiting for the Ethics Committee to review the accusations against him.
That changed when a new charge became public on Wednesday from a woman who said the senator has sought to forcibly kiss her in a 2006 incident.
Six female Democratic senators quickly followed Gillibrand in saying that Franken should step down: Sens. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisDemocrats turn on Al Franken Minnesota's largest newspaper calls on Franken to resign Democratic senator predicts Franken will resign Thursday MORE> (Calif.), Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillDemocrats turn on Al Franken Trump rips Dems a day ahead of key White House meeting The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE> (Mo.), Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayDemocrats turn on Al Franken VA slashes program that helps homeless veterans obtain housing: report The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE> (Wash.), Mazie HironoMazie Keiko HironoDemocrats turn on Al Franken The Hill's 12:30 Report Avalanche of Democratic senators say Franken should resign MORE> (Hawaii), Tammy BaldwinTammy Suzanne BaldwinDemocrats turn on Al Franken The Hill's 12:30 Report Avalanche of Democratic senators say Franken should resign MORE> (Wis.) and Maggie HassanMargaret (Maggie) HassanDemocrats turn on Al Franken The Hill's 12:30 Report Avalanche of Democratic senators say Franken should resign MORE> (N.H.).
"I believe the best thing for Senator Franken to do is step down," Harris said.
By early afternoon, Sen. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinDemocrats turn on Al Franken Minnesota's largest newspaper calls on Franken to resign Democratic senator predicts Franken will resign Thursday MORE> (Ill.), the No. 2 Democrat, and Democratic Sens. Debbie StabenowDeborah (Debbie) Ann StabenowThe Hill's 12:30 Report Avalanche of Democratic senators say Franken should resign Democrats to Trump: Ask Forest Service before shrinking monuments MORE> (Mich.), Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampThe Hill's 12:30 Report Avalanche of Democratic senators say Franken should resign Senate panel moves forward with bill to roll back Dodd-Frank MORE> (N.D.), Bob CaseyRobert (Bob) Patrick CaseyThe Hill's 12:30 Report Avalanche of Democratic senators say Franken should resign Dems look to use Moore against GOP MORE> Jr. (Pa.), Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownThe Hill's 12:30 Report Avalanche of Democratic senators say Franken should resign Overnight Regulation: Feds push to clarify regs on bump stocks | Interior wants Trump to shrink two more monuments | Navajo Nation sues over monument rollback | FCC won't delay net neutrality vote | Senate panel approves bill easing Dodd-Frank rules MORE> (Ohio), Joe DonnellyJoseph (Joe) Simon DonnellyTrump rips Dems a day ahead of key White House meeting The Hill's 12:30 Report Avalanche of Democratic senators say Franken should resign MORE> (Ind.), Michael BennetMichael Farrand BennetAvalanche of Democratic senators say Franken should resign GOP and Dems bitterly divided by immigration Schumer downplays shutdown chances over DACA fight MORE> (Colo.), Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyNet neutrality supporters predict tough court battle over FCC's repeal plan Avalanche of Democratic senators say Franken should resign Driverless car bill hits Senate speed bump MORE> (Mass.), Maria CantwellMaria Elaine CantwellAvalanche of Democratic senators say Franken should resign Week ahead: Trump expected to shrink two national monuments Live coverage: Senate Republicans pass tax bill MORE> (Wash.), Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyAvalanche of Democratic senators say Franken should resign America isn't ready to let Sessions off his leash Your tax dollars fund Afghan child rape MORE> (Vt.), Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinGrassley blasts Democrats over unwillingness to probe Clinton Avalanche of Democratic senators say Franken should resign Blumenthal: ‘Credible case' of obstruction of justice can be made against Trump MORE> (Calif.), Martin HeinrichMartin Trevor HeinrichAvalanche of Democratic senators say Franken should resign Senators introduce bipartisan gun background check bill Dem senator: 'Super close' on bipartisan deal on guns MORE> (N.M.), Tammy DuckworthLadda (Tammy) Tammy DuckworthAvalanche of Democratic senators say Franken should resign Dems resurface Flynn's 'lock her up' comments after Mueller charges Watchdog says agents violated court orders in initial travel ban rollout: report MORE> (Ill.), Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleyAvalanche of Democratic senators say Franken should resign Senate nixes provision boosting conservative college after uproar Overnight Energy: Panel advances controversial Trump nominee | Ex-coal boss Blankenship to run for Senate | Dem commissioner joins energy regulator MORE> (Ore.), Tom CarperThomas (Tom) Richard CarperAvalanche of Democratic senators say Franken should resign Overnight Cybersecurity: Mueller probe cost .7M in early months | Senate confirms Homeland Security nominee | Consumer agency limits data collection | Arrest in Andromeda botnet investigation Senate panel moves forward with bill to roll back Dodd-Frank MORE> (Del.), Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenDemocratic senator predicts Franken will resign Thursday Avalanche of Democratic senators say Franken should resign Lobbying world MORE> (Ore.), Tom UdallThomas (Tom) Stewart UdallAvalanche of Democratic senators say Franken should resign Dem senator slams Trump's 'moral authority' after 'Pocahontas' remark Overnight Cybersecurity: Kushner was contacted about WikiLeaks before election | Tech experts blast Trump's 'extreme vetting' plan | Senate passes defense bill with measure to modernize feds' IT MORE> (N.M.), Chris MurphyChristopher (Chris) Scott MurphyAvalanche of Democratic senators say Franken should resign Senate passes tax overhaul, securing major GOP victory Dem senator compares GOP tax bill to unicorns, Tupac conspiracy theories MORE> (Conn.), Gary PetersGary Charles PetersGOP chairman warns of ISIS's ‘cyber caliphate’ Avalanche of Democratic senators say Franken should resign Senate panel moves forward with bill to roll back Dodd-Frank MORE> (Mich.) and Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseOvernight Regulation: Net neutrality supporters predict tough court battle | Watchdog to investigate EPA chief's meeting with industry group | Ex-Volkswagen exec gets 7 years for emissions cheating Overnight Energy: Watchdog probes Pruitt speech to mining group | EPA chief promises to let climate scientists present their work | Volkswagen manager gets 7 years for emissions cheating EPA head pledges to protect climate scientists MORE> (R.I.) had also called on Franken to resign.
Sens. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersSchumer: Franken should resign Franken resignation could upend Minnesota races Avalanche of Democratic senators say Franken should resign MORE> (Vt.) and Angus KingAngus Stanley KingTrump rips Dems a day ahead of key White House meeting Trump pushing Maine gov to run for Senate: report Schumer: Franken should resign MORE> (Maine), both Independents who caucus with the Democrats, also called on Franken to step down.
"The right thing is for him to resign. We are now at a crossroads in American culture. And it is an important one. The way we treat women in our country has been abysmal in almost every way. We are finally addressing the issue of sexual harassment, and we need to get it right," Sanders said in a statement.
Franken's office said he would be making an announcement on Thursday.
Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharFranken resignation could upend Minnesota races Avalanche of Democratic senators say Franken should resign Trump-free Kennedy Center Honors avoids politics MORE> (D), the other senator from Minnesota, did not explicitly echo calls for Franken to resign but said she had spoken with her colleague.
"Sexual harassment is unacceptable. This morning I spoke with Senator Franken and, as you know, he will be making an announcement about his future tomorrow morning. I am confident he will make the right decision," she said in a statement.
Sen. Tim KaineTimothy Michael KaineDemocrats turn on Al Franken Avalanche of Democratic senators say Franken should resign Senate panel moves forward with bill to roll back Dodd-Frank MORE> (D-Va.) also declined to comment on Wednesday, saying that he would speak to Franken directly and release a statement after Thursday's press conference.
The women calling for Franken to step down included possible 2020 presidential candidates Harris and Gillibrand, and Murray, the No. 3 Democrat and highest-ranking female senator.
"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," Murray said.
She added that "we cannot pick and choose based on political party or friendship who we call out."
The Boston Globe reported that Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenOvernight Regulation: Net neutrality supporters predict tough court battle | Watchdog to investigate EPA chief's meeting with industry group | Ex-Volkswagen exec gets 7 years for emissions cheating Overnight Tech: Net neutrality supporters predict tough court fight | Warren backs bid to block AT&T, Time Warner merger | NC county refuses to pay ransom to hackers Avalanche of Democratic senators say Franken should resign MORE> (D-Mass.), another possible presidential candidate, had called Franken to urge him to step down.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGOP strategist donates to Alabama Democrat McConnell names Senate GOP tax conferees Brent Budowsky: A plea to Alabama voters MORE> (R-Ky.), meanwhile, said he did not believe Franken could "effectively serve the people of Minnesota in the U.S. Senate any longer."
"While the Senate Ethics Committee is reviewing these serious allegations, it now appears that Senator Franken has lost the support of his colleagues, and most importantly, his constituents," McConnell said in a statement, calling the allegations against Franken "extremely concerning to all of us in the Senate."
Franken has been battling allegations of sexual misconduct since mid-November when radio host Leeann Tweeden said he kissed and groped her without her consent during a 2006 USO tour.
Since then, multiple women have come forward saying Franken inappropriately touched them.
Franken, who routinely doesn't speak to reporters in the Capitol, has kept a relatively low profile since allegations first surfaced against him last month.
He skipped four Senate votes and a caucus lunch in the immediate wake of the initial allegation, and spoke on the Senate floor for the first time since early November on Dec. 1.
Still, he went on an apology tour late last month, speaking with local media and holding a rare press conference with Capitol Hill press. He said at the time that he was "embarrassed and ashamed" by the allegations of groping, while also noting he doesn't remember all of the alleged instances."Those are instances that I do not remember ... [but] it's been clear that there are some women, and one is too many, who feel that I have done something disrespectful, and I've hurt them. And for that I am tremendously sorry," Franken told reporters on Monday.
The calls for Franken to resign come as he is already under an Ethics Committee investigation.
"While the committee does not generally comment on pending matters that may come before it, in this instance, the committee is publicly confirming that it has opened a preliminary inquiry into Senator Franken's alleged misconduct," committee members said in a statement.
If Franken doesn't step down voluntarily, the committee could move forward with a range of potential punishments from a public admonishment to recommending the Senate expel him.
The Senate last expelled a member — a move that requires support for two-thirds of the chamber — in 1862 for supporting the confederacy.
The pressure on Franken to step down Wednesday also comes one day after Rep. John ConyersJohn James ConyersAbortion-rights group endorses Nadler in race to replace Conyers on Judiciary Democrats turn on Al Franken Michigan state senator to run for Congress MORE> Jr. (D-Mich.) resigned from the House amid his own sexual harassment controversy.
And it's a week before election day in Alabama, where Republican Roy Moore is the favorite for a Senate seat despite allegations from multiple women of improper conduct, including one woman who said Moore touched her sexually when she was 14 and he was 32.
Franken isn't up for reelection next year. If he steps down immediately, Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton (D) would appoint someone to fill his seat until a special election in 2018. The winner of that election would fill the seat for the remaining two years of Franken's term, while a second election would be held in 2020 for a full six-year term.
Updated: 4:30 p.m.
Source : http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/363543-women-in-senate-call-for-franken-to-resign