MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO/AP) — Following weeks of accusations made against him, Sen. Al Franken has announced he is stepping down at the end of the year.

“I am proud that during my time the Senate I have used my power to be a champion of women and that I have earned a reputation as someone who respects the women I work alongside every day. I know there’s been a very different picture of me painted over the last few weeks, but I know who I really am,” Franken said on the U.S. Senate floor Thursday morning.

“Serving in the United States Senate has been a great honor of my life. I know in my heart that nothing I have done as a Senator, nothing, has brought this honor on this institution and I am confident that the ethics committee would agree. Nevertheless today I am announcing that in the coming weeks I will be resigning as a member of the United States Senate,” Franken added. “Even today, on the worst political day of my life, I feel like it’s all been worth it.”

On Wednesday, more than a dozen Democrats in the U.S. Senate all called on Franken to resign, including neighboring Wisconsin’s Sen. Tammy Baldwin.

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 also joined those pressing for Franken to quit, among others.

“I of all people am aware that there is some irony that I am leaving while a man who has bragged on tape that his history of sexual assault sits in the Oval Office and a man who has repeatedly preyed on young girls campaigns for the Senate with the full support of his party,” Franken said. “Over the last few weeks a number of women have come forward to talk about how they felt my actions affected them. I was shocked, I was upset. But in responding to their claims, I also wanted to be respectful of that broader conversation, because all women deserve to be heard and their experiences taken seriously. I think that was the right thing to do. I also think it gave some people the false impression that I was admitting to doing things that in fact I hadn’t done. Some of the allegations against me are simply not true, others I remember very differently.”

Sources tell WCCO’s Pat Kessler that Minnesota’s lieutenant governor, Tina Smith, leads the list of potential Franken replacements until Minnesotans elect a replacement in 2018. That replacement would serve until 2020, when Franken was due for re-election.

Earlier on Wednesday, another woman came forward in Politico with allegations against Franken. The publication is withholding the name of the former congressional staffer who says Franken tried to kiss her in 2006.

Franken released a statement almost in conjunction with the release of the report saying he categorically denies this incident happened, which was a bit of a change from what he has said in the other instances.

This latest accuser was a Democratic congress member’s staffer in 2006 when she says Franken tried to kiss her when the two were alone and when she ducked he said “it’s my right as an entertainer.”

“I don’t want to be in the position of deciding whether to tell this story but I’m not the person who put me in that position. He did that,” the woman said. “I think for this moment in time to lead to meaningful change there has to be more than ‘I’m ashamed but I remember things differently’ accounting.”

Franken responded: “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.”

The accusations began with Leeann Tweeden, who in mid-November said Franken groped her while she slept and forcibly kissed her during a skit rehearsal. Since then, women have come forward alleging Franken inappropriately touched them on the back side during photos.

When WCCO’s Esme Murphy sat down with Franken late last month in Washington, before this latest allegation, Franken repeatedly said he did not recall the instances the way his accusers did but that he was sorry.

“I understand I am going to have to do everything I can going forward to be enormously sensitive, I apologize to these women,” Franken said.

Franken earlier said he agreed to cooperate with a Senate Ethics Committee investigation into his behavior. Last week, Senate officials confirmed that investigation was already underway.

Also this week, Time Magazine honored all who have broken their silence recently about being sexually assaulted or harassed in the past, calling “the silence breakers” their Person of the Year.

(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Comments (80)
  1. Ken Pittman says:

    Another swamp creature; Drained.

    1. …ah ah ah so very funny this comment of yours…it’s true…he reminds me of those old black and white films with the swamp creature with big bulgy eyes, big palmate hands…ugly

    2. Joe Mammy says:

      Agreed! Now let’s hope he shuts up and goes back to his swamp home. That’s what you get from hiring a sub-par “comedian” to be one of only two people to represent your state.

    3. Keep draining that swamp. Another liberal pig who acts like he cares about women but only cares about his next grope. Oh an Al, don’t return to comedy , either…you are not funny!

  2. The swamp is slowwwwllllly draining. I think I’ll (NOT) shed a little tear for ole groping Al. He’s as so many of his democratic buds are: completely two-faced.

    1. Stan Lister says:

      oh yes this is a problem tied to one political party. You uneducated biased moron.

  3. Mike Gartner says:

    Trying to make this about what Trump SAID vs what you DID solidifies why you don’t belong in congress.

    1. Don Stickney says:

      Apparently in Franken’s mind, there’s no difference between what he DID and what President Trump boasted that he COULD’VE DONE!
      Sadly, apparently no one in the lamestream news media knows the difference, either.

  4. Rick Smith says:

    I don’t know if I wasn’t guilty of something I would plea not guilty and would not simply bend to the pressure of being made to do so. Spineless democrat – nothing unusual

  5. Democrats falling on the sword of political correctness

    1. Stan Lister says:

      nice twitter page you inbred ignorant biased redneck moron.

  6. Dave Carlson says:

    Really? You’re comparing what you DID to what Trump SAID? How pathetic.

  7. No fan of Franken but there is such a thing as equal protection under the law and these men are being metaphorically lynched without a trial before their peers and facing the accusers…

  8. David Kroger says:

    A total dirt bag and creep. Now we need to clean up the Justice Dept that Obama trashed. Drain the swamp and clean up Washington DC.

  9. Typical liberal, can’t stop lying, virtue signaling, blaming Trump, plays the hero while being a zero and never admits they are wrong.

    Women watch out for Male Feminists!

  10. Henry Schook says:

    the al fraken honk a boob hello will go down in history like another liberal phoney womens champion th guy was.

  11. Senator Franken swore to uphold the constitution, which means due process rights, the right to face accusers directly in a court of law, and the whole concept of being innocent until properly convicted of a crime by a jury of your peers.

    Franken is running away from his responsibility!

  12. Nathan Pizzo says:

    The moral indignation of the morally corrupt. That is RICH!

  13. Good riddance. Unfortunately Gov. Dayton will surely appoint another baby killing stooge in his place. Minnesota — We can replace BOTH Franken and Abortion Amy next November! Let’s do this!

  14. Jim Tucker says:

    Senator Franken. You are a member of the least respected profession because of one consisten lacking by most of your ilk. You think you get to define your “enemy”. You only get to define you. Sad you chose handsy creepy can tell the fame groupies from prudes not happy to just say no. You do not deserve to have your career destroyed because of your creepy flirtations and bad jokes. You deserve to see your career rerouted because the holier than thou act is boring AND hypocritical coming from you. Now go out and find those fame @#$##@#, there are plenty of them that are happy to let you grab them in the $%&^%&$.

  15. James Sweatt says:

    Great speech from an odious person. Besides how he abused women BEFORE being a Senator, he has been a bully as a Senator against Whites, Men, Christians, gun-owners, etc.
    And remember how he stole that seat to begin with: suspicious ballots found in the trunk of a car that turned him from a loser (he still is!) to someone declared the winner by less than 100 votes.
    Good riddance to bad rubbish!

  16. Nathan Pizzo says:

    Hearts filled with evil immorality, and heads filled with stupitity. That defines most of our congress. What a joke. We need new leaders!!

  17. No Al, you don’t know who you are. We do though. You’re a NARC as in narcissistic personality disorder, and NARCs never admit they have that mental health issue. I’d say go get help but NARCs can’t be helped. You’re broken and you’re gonna stay that way. You and you alone turned your life into a cesspool. Get on with your life and get out of ours. Champion of Women?? I don’t think so. How is it that you are “sorry” for acts you claim not to have done? You state that as you move forward you will be “enormously sensitive.” Try to be less of a liar as well.

  18. Franken did NOT resign today. He only said he would. Who wants to take bets that he will either change his mind or simply not follow through?

  19. Al Franken, a classless POS to the end. I hope those he molested go after him in civil court and take him to the cleaners.

  20. bandit08 says:

    Hi wife must be ecstatic

  21. I don’t care for Franken or his politics but this should have been decided by the Minnesota electorate and/or the Senate Ethics Committee not the court of public opinion. As big a schmuck as Franken is he deserved due process and should not have resigned. There is a feeling of the hysteria and bloodletting in this not seen since the French Revolution. I think the country needs to take a breath and reflect just a little before the guillotine is broken out of mothballs.

  22. Why are Democrats who abuse women self-styled “champions of women”?….

  23. Gary Mowery says:

    Well, YOU elected him! This is on Minnesota.

  24. Su Yu says:

    Another perverted Democrat bites the dust.

  25. Sling mud on someone else on your way out. Further evidence he has no class.

  26. lol. He was a little beeyitch right to the end. Good riddance, swamp rat.

  27. Joe Johnson says:

    GTFO and don’t let the door hit you in your butt, you uber-liberal PoS.

  28. Bobby Love says:

    hahaha what does Trump or Moore have to do with him molesting women ahahha=== THE FALL OF FRANKEN
    ‘CHAMPION OF WOMEN’
    SLAMS TRUMP, MOORE ON WAY OUT

  29. Bob Wahler says:

    It’s really hard to listen to anyone from the party that made Ted Kennedy and Bill Clinton “untouchable gods” criticize ANYONE else about abusing women. Hillary herself abused women who her husband had already abused; and these people STILL claim that she should be President.

    Intellectual consistency has not been a part of the Democrat platform for decades.

  30. David Grimes says:

    Hang in there Stuart. Don’t run off now.

  31. The swamp is minus one more lying, amoral, evil, petty, thieven ahole!!

    MAGA

  32. Greg Jones says:

    I hope everyone sees through this. It’s not like the Democrats have all of a sudden had a come to Jesus moment. Franken and Conyers are both in democrat safe districts and were sacrificed so, the establishment can go after President Trump. It’s for political benefit only. They will go after Trump with this in the 2020 election, where they couldn’t in 2016 because of Hillary’s meal ticket Bill Clinton was the worst when it came to sexual harassment.

  33. ” I know there’s been a very different picture of me painted over the last few weeks, but I know who I really am,”

    See there? Now THAT’S FUNNY!

  34. Lori Frank says:

    1- Billy stated that they knew Trump was blowing hot air as the showman and exaggerator that he is.

    2- Even if it was true Trump said “They Let You Do It” which insinuates consent. Consent is not sexual assault. Franken doesn’t seem to know the difference (in word and deed).

    3- Trump denies it and is innocent until proven guilty. Now there are serious questions about ‘proof’ in Roy Moore’s accusations as well (ink and signature). There is no question at all about the picture of Senator Grope, which only proves Franken’s intelligence level.

  35. I’ve noticed that these democrats being accused have a few things in common. One, they are all just horrible people aside from the sex stuff. Franken is a great example. Second, their behavior has never changed. They’ve always been predators.

    Moore on the other hand , if you believe the accusers, only had one period of his life when he did this, which is not consistent with the behavior of a predator. To me that’s proof of Moore’s innocence.

  36. John Trapp says:

    Champion of women? Did they ever give this idiot a drug test?

  37. Got in congress by cheating and stealing an election (sound familiar?) and then leaves in disgrace. Typical modern liberal.

  38. FO&D franken. Crawl into your leftist hole in the ground and stay there. USA has had enough of you collectivists.

  39. At least Franken is consistent. He wasn’t a very funny comedian and he wasn’t much of a Senator. Oh, well. You Minnesotans elected him. I hope you do better next time. Although, I don’t expect it.

  40. I am a Trump supporter, but I believe in fair play. I also believe in due process. He said he was innocent of some charges. He needs to fight those charges, not roll over like some political correct liberal weiner.

    It’s best he leaves, he’s a coward

  41. Karma is a pre-existing condition, Al. Good riddance.

  42. President Trump…….Please, I’m getting sick of winning! MAGA!

  43. chrismireya says:

    Franken has ADMITTED to certain acts of sexual impropriety (at least some of them). Yet, Franken isn’t willing to extend such due process toward those on the opposite side of the political aisle in Washington (e.g., President Trump, Roy Moore, etc.) where the accusations are just that — unproven.

  44. Jake Spot says:

    Franken is only a champion of turds.

  45. If he didn’t do, he should have stayed…but I’m thinking he did grab some skin and shove his reptilian tongue down a few throats.

  46. Mike Palmer says:

    The Democrats are going to try to differentiate themselves from the Republicans by saying they’re the party of accountability when it comes to sexual harassment. It won’t work simply for the fact that most of the sexual abusers are democrats. This party aided and abetted people like Bill Clinton, Bill Cosby and Harvey Weinstein for decades. Nice try, but come talk to us in 10 years when you don’t have to account for your obviously double standards.

  47. John Oakman says:

    If the POS is so well respected WHY is he being run out of town–good riddance.

  48. dtahan says:

    The Democrats War on Women looses one more perv.

  49. Barley Booth says:

    That was no apology, but instead a giant F-U I’m outta here. Nice job Al. Minnesota are you going to let the left steal another Senate seat when the time to elect his replacement come around?

  50. another POS Hypocrite spewing hatred to take attention away from his own failings. Drain the swamp!!!!

  51. Hal Slusher says:

    Self-inflicted and well earned damn man we got pictures of your low life behaviour

  52. Franken did not resign. He said he plans to resign. If Moore is elected next week he could use that as an excuse to change his mind. After all he is a champion of women’s rights and those skanks lied about him.

  53. John Schmidt says:

    Wasn’t Conyers also a champion of women? An Icon Pelosi called him? Hard for Democrats to take the moral high road with Bill Clinton and criticize people like Moore who certainly needs to be condemned.

  54. ernie4 says:

    does anyone have his personal contact information,
    that I might ridicule and mock him on a more personal
    level? LOL!
    WINNING!
    DRAIN THE SWAMP!
    TRUMP 2020!

  55. David Long says:

    So, the question is who is Dumber, Franken, or the cretins who elected him.

  56. Sad… Democrats eat their own… Time to form a third party…

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More From WCCO | CBS Minnesota

Good Question
Best Of Minnesota
Excellent Educator

Watch & Listen LIVE