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Sen. Franken Resigns Amid Multiple Harassment Allegations

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 everyday. 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.

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 conjuction 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.

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