Al Franken’s swift fall: A timeline

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Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) resigned from the Senate on Thursday, a day after more than half the Democratic caucus called for him to step down over accusations from multiple women of groping and other sexual misconduct.

The first accusations against Franken, who had been seen as a potential presidential candidate in 2020, came less than a month ago.

Here is a look back at his stunning fall.

Nov. 16

Leeann Tweeden wrote an op-ed accusing Franken of forcing a kiss on her during rehearsals for a sketch on a USO tour in 2006.

{mosads}“I immediately pushed him away with both of my hands against his chest and told him if he ever did that to me again I wouldn’t be so nice about it the next time,” Tweeden wrote of Franken’s alleged attempt to kiss her.

She also released a photo that showed Franken appearing to grope her breasts as she slept on a military flight. Tweeden, who was wearing a flak jacket and helmet on the flight, said she only learned of the photo after the fact.

Franken apologized to Tweeden but also said he did not remember the events the exact same way she described.

“I certainly don’t remember the rehearsal for the skit in the same way, but I send my sincerest apologies to Leeann. As to the photo, it was clearly intended to be funny but wasn’t. I shouldn’t have done it,” Franken said in a statement after Tweeden’s op-ed was published.

Colleagues of Franken criticized his action, and the senator called for an ethics investigation into his own behavior.

Nov. 20

Lindsay Menz accused Franken of grabbing her buttocks as she sought a photo with the senator at the Minnesota State Fair in 2010. She became the second woman to make an accusation against Franken.

“It wasn’t around my waist. It wasn’t around my hip or side. It was definitely on my butt,” she told CNN.

Franken told the network that he did not remember the photo, but that he felt “badly that Ms. Menz came away from our interaction feeling disrespected.”

Nov. 22

Two more women told the HuffPost that Franken grabbed their rear ends during separate photo opportunities

“My story is eerily similar to Lindsay Menz’s story,” one unidentified woman told the news outlet. “He grabbed my buttocks during a photo op.”

A second woman also accused Franken of touching her inappropriately, but added that she believed he also propositioned her to make a trip to the bathroom.

“It’s difficult to respond to anonymous accusers, and I don’t remember those campaign events,” Franken told HuffPost in a statement. Franken denied the allegation that he propositioned the second woman.

Both of the alleged incidents occurred during Franken’s first Senate bid.

Nov. 23

Franken in an apology pledged to regain the trust of his constituents.

“I feel terribly that I’ve made some women feel badly and for that I am so sorry, and I want to make sure that never happens again,” Franken said on Thanksgiving Day in the apology statement.

“And let me say again to Minnesotans that I’m sorry for putting them through this and I’m committed to regaining their trust.”

Nov. 26

Franken gives several interviews with local news outlets in which he promises to regain the trust of his constituents.

But one outlet noted that Franken could not say whether additional accusations would pop up.

“I’m embarrassed and ashamed. I’ve let a lot of people down and I’m hoping I can make it up to them and gradually regain their trust,” Franken told the Star-Tribune.

Nov. 30

Army veteran Stephanie Kemplin told CNN that Franken grabbed her breast during a photo opportunity in 2003, during her deployment to Kuwait.

A spokesperson for Franken said the senator was “committed to cooperating with the ethics investigation” and noted that he had been in “thousands of photos” during his career.

On the same day, a second woman, described as “a former elected official in New England,” told Jezebel that Franken in 2006 tried to kiss her after an interview for his radio show.

“He took it and leaned toward me with his mouth open. I turned my head away from him and he landed a wet, open-mouthed kiss awkwardly on my cheek,” the unidentified woman told the news outlet.

Dec. 6

9 a.m.

A seventh unidentified woman came forward in a story published by Politico just after 9 a.m., claiming Franken attempted to kiss her after a radio taping in 2006, before he was elected to the Senate.

The woman, a former Democratic aide in Congress, claimed Franken said to her at the time, “It’s my right as an entertainer.”

Franken denied the allegation.

“This allegation is categorically not true and the idea that I would claim this as my right as an entertainer is preposterous,” the senator said.

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) called Franken on Wednesday morning just after Politico published its report to tell the senator he needed to resign, according to a person familiar with the matter. 

11:30 a.m.

Just before 11:30 a.m., Sen. Kristin Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) became the first Democrat to call for Franken’s resignation on Wednesday. 

“While he’s entitled to an Ethics Committee hearing, I believe he should step aside to let someone else serve,” Gillibrand said in a statement on Twitter.

Six other female Democrats, Sens. Kamala Harris (Calif.), Patty Murray (Wash.), Claire McCaskill (Mo.), Mazie Hirono (Hawaii), Maggie Hassan (N.H.) and Tammy Baldwin (Wis.), quickly followed Gillibrand.

By the early afternoon, nearly two dozen more Senate Democrats called on Franken to resign, including Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.).

2:40 p.m.

An eighth accuser published her own account in The Atlantic Wednesday afternoon, claiming Franken touched her inappropriately at a Media Matters party in 2009.

“Al Franken’s familiarity was inappropriate and unwanted,” Tina Dupuy said. “It was also quick; he knew exactly what he was doing.” 

5 p.m.

Just after 5 p.m., Schumer in a statement said Franken needed to step aside.

“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,” Schumer said.

Dec. 7

Bowing to pressure, Franken announced his resignation from the Senate floor.

The senator said some of the allegations against him are “simply not true” and that others he remembers differently.

Nonetheless, he said “I will be resigning in the coming weeks as a member of the Senate.”

Franken said he continued to think the ethics panel was the appropriate venue for the charges brought against him to be investigated, and he said he felt it would have found that he had done nothing to bring dishonor on the Senate.

“I am proud that during my time in the Senate I have used my power to be a champion of women,” he said.

Franken said he knows a very different picture has been painted of him but “I know who I really am.”

He also took a shot at President Trump and Alabama Republican Senate nominee Roy Moore, citing sexual misconduct accusations levied against the two men.

“I, of all people, am aware that there is some 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, and a man who has repeatedly preyed on young girls campaigns for the Senate with the full support of his party,” said Franken. “But this decision is not about me, it’s about the people of Minnesota.”

Tags Al Franken Charles Schumer Claire McCaskill Dick Durbin Donald Trump Maggie Hassan Mazie Hirono Patty Murray Sexual harassment Tammy Baldwin

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