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senator al franken

Senator Al Franken has said he is planning to quit “in the coming weeks” after string of harassment allegations.

He said from the Senate floor: “I am proud that during my time in the Senate that I have used my power to be a champion of women.”

The Minnesota Democratic senator’s speech came a day after nearly 30 Democrats called on him to resign.

Al Franken would be the most prominent lawmaker to resign amid a wave of misconduct claims against high-profile figures.

Meanwhile, the House of Representatives Ethics Committee launched harassment investigations into two Republican congressmen.

Trent Franks of Arizona announced he was resigning as the inquiry was announced.

The congressman acknowledged having made two female congressional aides “uncomfortable” by asking them about surrogacy when he and his wife faced infertility.

The committee also said it would investigate Blake Farenthold, who used $84,000 of taxpayers’ money to settle a harassment lawsuit with his former spokeswoman.

Image source Flickr

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George HW Bush Accused of Inappropriately Touching a Woman When She Was 16

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Over in the Senate, Al Franken told his colleagues on December 7: “Today I am announcing that in the coming weeks I will be resigning as a member of the United States Senate.

“I may be resigning my seat but I am not giving up my voice.”

The former Saturday Night Live comic and two-term senator has apologized to several women who have accused him of groping and harassment, but he faced mounting pressure to step aside after a new allegation surfaced on December 6.

Al Franken said some of the claims against him “are simply are not true”, but added that women “deserve to be heard and their experiences taken seriously”.

The senator also referenced the harassment allegations that have been leveled against President Donald Trump and Republican Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore.

“I, of all people, am aware that there is some 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, and a man who has repeatedly preyed on young girls campaigns for the Senate with the full support of his party.”

Al Franken is not the only politician to have found himself engulfed by harassment in recent weeks.

On December 5, Michigan Democrat John Conyers announced he would resign amid claims of harassment made by his congressional aides.

Seven women have come forward to accuse Roy Moore, a former Alabama Supreme Court judge, of inappropriate behavior decades ago.

Several Democratic female senators – including some who called for Al Franken’s resignation a day earlier – hugged the lawmaker after his speech.

Senator Bernie Sanders echoed Al Franken’s criticisms of President Donald Trump on Twitter.

He tweeted: “We have a president who acknowledged on tape that he assaulted women. I would hope that he pays attention to what’s going on and think about resigning.”

Fellow Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar thanked Al Franken on Facebook, calling him a “friend to me and many in our state”.

The decision to fill the vacancy left by Al Franken will fall to Democratic Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton, who said in a statement he has not determined who will replace him.

Minnesota Senator Al Franken has responded to Leeann Tweeden’s allegations that he groped her as she slept and “forcibly” kissed her in a rehearsal for a comedy skit.

Leeann Tweeden, a radio host, says the two incidents happened in December 2006 on a tour to entertain US troops overseas, before Al Franken entered politics.

She wrote that the former comic “aggressively” kissed her while saying they had to rehearse a scene.

Al Franken, a former Saturday Night Live writer, apologized for the grope.

However, the Democrat said he has a different recollection of the other incident.

Al Franken: “I certainly don’t remember the rehearsal for the skit in the same way, but I send my sincerest apologies to Leeann,” he said in a statement.

“As to the photo, it was clearly intended to be funny but wasn’t. I shouldn’t have done it.”

He issued a second, longer statement less than two hours later after a ferocious backlash from critics who accused him of a non-apology and demanded his resignation.

Image source Flickr

George HW Bush Accused of Inappropriately Touching a Woman When She Was 16

George H. W. Bush Issues Second Apology Following Assault Claims

Kevin Spacey Scandal: Old Vic Has 20 Claims of Inappropriate Behavior Against Actor

In an article for KABC, a Los Angeles radio station where Leeann Tweeden now works, she recalled feeling victimized by Al Franken during her ninth USO tour of the Middle East.

“When I saw the script, Franken had written a moment when his character comes climbing at me for a <<kiss>>,” she said.

“I suspected what he was after, but I figured I could turn my head at the last minute, or put my hand over his mouth, to get more laughs from the crowd.”

On the day of the performance in Kuwait, Leeann Tweeden said he was insistent they rehearse the skit.

When the moment came he “put his hand on the back of my head, mashed his lips against mine and aggressively stuck his tongue in my mouth”.

“You knew exactly what you were doing,” Leeann Tweeden wrote.

“You forcibly kissed me without my consent, grabbed my breasts while I was sleeping and had someone take a photo of you doing it, knowing I would see it later, and be ashamed.”

Later at a press conference in Los Angeles, Leeann Tweeden went into further detail about how “he stuck his tongue in my mouth so fast”.

“And all I can remember is that his lips were really wet and slimy,” she said.

“In my mind I called him <<fish lips>> the rest of the trip.”

Senator Chuck Schumer, the Democratic leader of the Senate, promptly called for the chamber’s Ethics Committee to investigate Al Franken.

The Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell echoed the call for an ethics investigation.

Al Franken said he would “gladly cooperate”.

In his second statement, he said: “I respect women. I don’t respect men who don’t.

“And the fact that my own actions have given people a good reason to doubt that makes me feel ashamed.”

Of the photo, he added: “I look at it now and I feel disgusted with myself. It isn’t funny. It’s completely inappropriate.

“It’s obvious how Leeann would feel violated by that picture.”

However, he still begged to differ on her portrayal of him forcing his tongue down her mouth.

“While I don’t remember the rehearsal for the skit as Leeann does, I understand why we need to listen to and believe women’s experiences.”

As a senator for Minnesota, Al Franken has cultivated an image for himself as a vocal champion of women’s issues, from assault to abortion rights and equal pay.

Leeann Tweeden said she was inspired to come forward more than a decade later after California congresswoman Jackie Speier was interviewed on her morning radio program.

Jackie Speier told about being assaulted as a young congressional aide in Washington.

George HW Bush Accused of Inappropriately Touching a Woman When She Was 16