Urged to resign by his colleagues, Democratic Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota announced via Twitter on Wednesday that he will make an "announcement" on Thursday. The missive did not elaborate on the contends of the announcement. Fourteen Democratic senators and the DNC chair called on Franken to resign in the wake of various allegations of sexual misconduct and harassment.

Franken tweeted: "Senator Franken will be making an announcement tomorrow. More details to come."

The latest accusation came from a former Democratic congressional aide has accused Franken of forcibly trying to kiss her 11 years ago. The first such accusation came from a woman who claimed that the senator forcibly kissed her during a performance of a skit during a USO tour. Photos also emerged that showed Franken grasping the woman's breasts while she slept on a military air transport. Before the calls for his resignation, Franken denied the latest accusation directed at him. 

The fourteen Democrats constitute nearly a third of the party's caucus in the Senate. They include Sen. Patty Murray of Washington, the third-ranking Senate Democrat. Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez also tweeted that Franken should step down.

Here are the Democratic senators, mostly women, who have called for Franken's resignation:

Kirsten Gillibrand of New York
Mazie Hirono of Hawaii
Claire McCaskill of Missouri
Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire
Patty Murray of Washington
Kamala Harris of California
Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin
Debbie Stabenow of Michigan
Bob Casey of Pennsylvania
Joe Donnelly of Indiana
Sherrod Brown of Ohio
Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota
Ed Markey of Massachusetts
Michael Bennet of Colorado

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, also said Franken should resign.

In the statements, the senators used words like "egregious" and "unacceptable" to describe Franken's behavior.

According to POLITICO, the unidentified former aide said the incident involving Franken took place after a taping of Franken's radio show, before he was a senator. "'It's my right as an entertainer,'" Franken allegedly told the women after she avoided his kiss. Franken claimed, "This allegation is categorically not true and the idea that I would claim this as my right as an entertainer is preposterous. I look forward to fully cooperating with the ongoing ethics committee investigation."

Franken joins other members of Congress who have faced harassment accusations. On Tuesday, Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., stepped down after more than 50 years in Congress following former staffers' allegations of misconduct.

 



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Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat and the editor of Spero News.

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