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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 BlackburnDemocrats hold fading odds of winning Senate this November Cornyn: 'All the money in the world' won't help O'Rourke win Texas Gillibrand backs Manchin, Bredesen despite their support of Kavanaugh 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 TrumpFive takeaways from Cruz, O'Rourke's debate showdown Arpaio files libel suit against New York Times IMF's Christine Lagarde delays trip to Middle East MORE in the wake of the damaging "Access Hollywood" tape, stating that Democratic nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonBudowsky: Closing message for Democrats Election Countdown: Dems outraise GOP in final stretch | 2018 midterms already most expensive in history | What to watch in second Cruz-O'Rourke debate | Trump raises 0M for reelection | Why Dems fear Avenatti's approach GOP mocks Clinton after minor vehicle collision outside Mendendez campaign event 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.