Rep. Trent Franks to resign from Congress

Rep. Trent FranksHarold (Trent) Trent FranksFreedom Caucus members see openings in leadership AP Analysis: 25 state lawmakers running in 2018 have been accused of sexual misconduct Jordan weathering political storm, but headwinds remain MORE (R-Ariz.) is resigning from Congress, according to two Arizona Republicans with knowledge of the decision.

One source said Franks would resign in the face of what the source described as forthcoming claims of inappropriate behavior.

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Franks was mobbed by reporters as he left the House floor on Thursday evening but did not respond to questions. 

"I'll let the statement speak for itself," he said. 

As the news of his resignation broke, fellow Republicans approached Franks on the House floor, all stone-faced. 

Several fellow conservatives sat with Franks, bent their heads and prayed.

Franks represents a safe GOP district northwest of Phoenix. 

Arizona Republicans say if and when Gov. Doug Ducey (R) calls a special election, as many as a dozen serious candidates could emerge.

They pointed to state Sens. Debbie Lesko, Kimberly Yee and Steve Montenegro, state Reps. Darin Mitchell and David Livingston, former stare Rep. Rick Gray and Maricopa County Supervisor Clint Hickman as potential contenders.

Franks is best known in Congress for his fierce opposition to abortion. He has repeatedly introduced legislation to ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, which the House most recently passed in October.

He drew controversy in 2013 while pushing a version of his 20-week abortion ban when he said that the incidence of pregnancies resulting from rape is "very low." Rep. Marsha BlackburnMarsha BlackburnElection Countdown: Senate, House Dems build cash advantage | 2020 Dems slam Trump over Putin presser | Trump has M in war chest | Republican blasts parents for donating to rival | Ocasio-Cortez, Sanders to campaign in Kansas Senate Dems build huge cash edge in battlegrounds Lawmakers split over how to expand rural broadband MORE (R-Tenn.) was later assigned to manage House floor debate on the bill in his place amid the furor at the time.

Franks continued to support President TrumpDonald John TrumpNFL freezes policy barring players from protesting during anthem McConnell spokesman on Putin visit: 'There is no invitation from Congress' Petition urges University of Virginia not to hire Marc Short MORE in the wake of the damaging "Access Hollywood" tape, stating that Democratic nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonProminent Putin critic: If Trump turns me over, I'm dead Dems unveil slate of measures to ratchet up pressure on Russia Trump tweets old video of Clinton talking up 'a strong Russia' MORE's support for abortion rights outweighed other considerations.

"Donald Trump's words degraded and insulted women in the most flagrant possible way, and yet Hillary Clinton's policy is to allow the murder of a half a million little tiny women every year," Franks told CNN last year.

— Mike Lillis contributed

Updated: 6:40 p.m.