United States senator resigns amid sexual misconduct allegations

Al Franken's selfish, damaging resignation speech

Minnesota Lt. Governor Tina Smith Expected to Fill Franken's Seat, But Only Temporarily

Al Franken's Thursday announcement that he will resign following accusations of improper behavior were swift and varied, with Donald Trump Jr. immediately cackling over the development and actresses Bette Midler and Ellen Barkin lamenting Franken's decision.

The first allegation against Franken - for which he has apologized - was made by sports broadcaster and former model Leeann Tweeden, who said he forcibly kissed her, and touched her without consent as she slept, during a 2006 tour entertaining U.S. troops deployed in Afghanistan.

That prompted another seven women to come forward and today the Senator resigned but took a parting swing at President Trump and a Republican who's running for the senate in Alabama.

In remarks on the Senate floor, Franken said he was "shocked" and "upset" by the allegations against him, but "all women deserve to be heard and their experiences taken seriously". "Others I remember very differently". Among them were the top three ranking senators in the party - Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York, Dick Durbin of IL and Patty Murray of Washington.

On Wednesday, one woman said he forcibly tried to kiss her in 2006, an accusation he vehemently denied. Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton will appoint a replacement to serve until next year's election. "This allegation is categorically not true and the idea that I would claim this as my right as an entertainer is preposterous".

The once-popular 66-year-old Minnesota lawmaker apologized last month after acknowledging one incident of misconduct, vowing to work to regain public trust.

Al Franken's selfish, damaging resignation speech
United States senator resigns amid sexual misconduct allegations

Already the Senate Democrat's number two man, Dick Durbin (IL), and the party's assistant leader, Patty Murray (WA), had joined New York Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand's campaign to force Franken to resign his seat.

Republicans current hold 52 seats in the chamber with Democrats andvIndependents they regularly caucus with accounting for the remaining 48 seats.

Franken said he was keenly aware of the "irony in the fact that I am leaving while a man who has bragged on tape about his history of sexual assault sits in the Oval Office".

The victor of a special election in November 2018 would serve through to the end of Mr Franken's term in January of 2021. The name most often mentioned is Lt. Gov. Tina Smith.

Dayton said he would make his appointment "in a couple of days". But his resignation sets up a 2018 special election in Minnesota. He is locked in a tight race with Democratic opponent Doug Jones, and the seat they are vying for is critically important in the closely divided Senate.

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