Al Franken announces resignation from the Senate

Members of the media are lined up outside the Senate office of Sen. Al Franken D-Minn. on Capitol Hill Wednesday Dec. 6 2017 in Washington. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand D-N.Y. and fellow female Democratic senators have united in calling for SFranken

The pressure on him to leave mounted this week after Democratic Representative John Conyers resigned following numerous allegations of sexual misconduct.

The dramatic announcement from the Senate floor comes one day after more than a dozen Democratic Senators, including Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand of NY declared on Wednesday.

Franken is only the latest in a string of powerful American men who have left their jobs in the wake of sexual harassment or assault allegations.

The allegations against Mr Franken began in mid-November when Leeann Tweeden, now a Los Angeles radio anchor, accused him of forcibly kissing her during a 2006 USO tour in Afghanistan. I don't respect men who don't.

"Serving in the United States senate has been the great honor of my life", Franken said, with only a handful of his colleagues in attendance. "The truth is, what people think of me in light of this is far less important than what people think of women who continue to come forward to tell their stories".

Addressing the Senate Thursday, the Minnesota Democrat was apologetic for any misconduct, but maintained that some of the charges against him are "simply not true".

"I know there's been a very different picture of me painted", Franken said.

Franken, a former comedian who was seen as a rising star in the Democratic Party before accusations surfaced three weeks ago that he had groped or tried to kiss women without their consent, was discussing the matter with his family on Wednesday, and no final decision about his future had been made, his office said. But in responding to their claims I also wanted to be respectful of the broader conversation, because all women deserve to be heard and their experiences taken seriously.

"I know in my heart that nothing I have done as a senator - nothing - has brought dishonour on this institution", Mr Franken said on Thursday. This decision is not about me.

Franken also took a parting shot at Donald Trump - who himself has faced multiple allegations of sexual harassment - and at Alabama Senate hopeful Roy Moore, who has received the president's endorsement despite being accused of molesting several teenaged girls.

Moore has denied the accusations, but Trump's endorsement as well as the support of most of the Republican Party for the accused child molester has drawn fierce criticism. Even the possibility of a vacant U.S. Senate seat had political operatives scrambling to compile research on the large and growing number of potential candidates.

Minnesota Democratic Reps. Tim Walz and Collin Peterson both called for Franken to resign, as did Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. If Moore is elected, it could create a political nightmare for Republicans, who have promised an ethics probe. Republicans, who hold a 52-48 majority, are now on the hunt for a top-tier candidate in a politically competitive state where President Donald Trump lost by less than 2 percentage points previous year, reported NBC News.

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