Al Franken will speak from the Senate floor Thursday about his future in office following a raft of allegations he touched women inappropriately and dozens of his Democratic colleagues calling for him to step aside.
At least eight women, including model and TV host Leeann Tweeden, came forward in recent weeks to accuse Franken of inappropriate behavior, with the allegations ranging from groping and kissing without consent to unwanted sexual advances.
In a short statement issued on Wednesday, Schumer said, "I consider Senator Franken a dear friend and greatly respect his accomplishments, but he has a higher obligation to his constituents and the Senate, and he should step down immediately". "I am confident he will make the right decision".
Franken directly addressed the #MeToo movement in his resignation speech.
Franken said that in responding to women's reports of his behavior, he "wanted to be respectful" of the broader conversation around harassment and men's abuses of power.
"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.
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"Enough is enough", fed-up New York Sen. She said she was gathering her belongings to follow her boss out of the room. "This allegation is categorically not true and the idea that I would claim this as my right as an entertainer is preposterous".
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 only requirements are that it is a Minnesota resident, at least 30 years old, and a USA citizen for at least nine years. The victor of the special election would serve out the remainder of Franken's term - until January 2021 - and face re-election in November 2020, thus restoring the six-year cycle of Senate seats.
The unexpected opportunity could be a "total game-changer in terms of control of the Senate", Republican strategist Alex Conant, a Minnesota native, told NBC News.
Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) arrives to cast a vote in the Senate Chamber inside of the U.S. Capitol building November 30, 2017 in Washington, DC.
Dayton said he would make his appointment "in a couple of days". Under that scenario, Smith would serve as a temporary replacement who would not run for the seat in a November 2018 special election. She's known largely for behind-the-scenes work, including as Dayton's former chief of staff.
Then on Wednesday, Politico reported a former Democratic congressional aide said Franken tried to kiss her forcibly in 2006.More news: 'Prove-it' deals pay dividends for the Eagles