Democrats call on Senator Franken to resign amid groping claims


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Ten US Democratic senators have called on US Senator Al Franken to resign amid sexual misconduct claims.

In separate statements released almost simultaneously on Wednesday, a group of Democratic lawmakers said the embattled Minnesota senator must step down.

Mr Franken, a former Saturday Night Live comedian, has been accused of groping and sexually harassing seven women, including a US military veteran.

Mr Franken has apologised to his accusers, but disputes some claims.

Senators Kamala Harris, Claire McCaskill, Maggie Hassan, Mazie Hirono, Patty Murray, Kirsten Gillibrand – all prominent female Democratic lawmakers – released their statements online following a US media report that he allegedly attempted to forcibly kiss a former congressional aide in 2006.

Senators Tammy Baldwin, Bob Casey, Joe Donnelly, and Sherrod Brown released similar statements shortly after.


Women leading the way

Analysis by Anthony Zurcher, BBC News, Washington

With the seventh credible allegation of harassment levelled against Senator Al Franken, a dam is breaking – and, once again, women are leading the way.

One, after another, female Democratic senators have come out calling for Mr Franken’s resignation. It’s a drumbeat of condemnation that will be increasingly hard for the embattled Minnesota senator to ignore.

A day after John Conyers, the longest-serving current member of the House of Representatives, resigned amid allegations of harassment and assault, the Democratic Party appears to be coming to grips with the problem within its ranks.

This, however, is probably just the beginning – and, at some point, the politician in the firestorm may be from an at-risk seat. That’s not the case with Mr Franken and Mr Conyers, and it will be at that point that party principles will be truly tested.

For now, however, Democrats can make a move for the moral high ground, as Donald Trump and the Republican Party rally around Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, who faces credible allegations of sexual assault and impropriety with teenage girls.


Tom Perez, the Democrat National Committee chairman, also called on Mr Franken to resign in a Twitter post.

“Everyone must share the responsibility of building a culture of trust and respect for women in every industry and workplace, and that includes our party,” he wrote.

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Media captionFranken would not speculate over whether he would be forced to resign

Mrs Murray, the third-highest ranking Democrat in the Senate, wrote: “It’s clear to me that this has been a deeply harmful, persistent problem and a clear pattern over a long period of time.”

“It’s time for him to step aside,” the Washington state representative said on Twitter.

In a statement provided to BBC News, Mr Franken’s office said the senator “will be making an announcement tomorrow”.


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