Al Franken says he 'absolutely' regrets resigning

Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenCould Andrew Cuomo — despite scandals — be re-elected because of Trump? Al Franken to launch 15-stop comedy tour Democrats, GOP face crowded primaries as party leaders lose control MORE told The New Yorker in an interview published Monday that he "absolutely" regrets resigning from the Senate in 2018 following sexual harassment allegations from eight women.

Franken explained that in retrospect he would have appeared before the Senate Ethics Committee before stepping down.

“I can’t go anywhere without people reminding me of this, usually with some version of ‘You shouldn’t have resigned,’ ” he told the magazine.

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Franken, a former “Saturday Night Live” writer, was pressured by a number of Democrats to step aside after Leeann Tweeden accused him of having forced an unwanted kiss on her during a 2006 U.S.O. tour. Seven other women accused Franken of inappropriate kissing or touching soon after.

However, some Democrats have expressed regret about his resignation.

Seven current or former senators who demanded Franken's resignation told The New Yorker that they had been wrong to do so.

Sen. Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyOvernight Defense: Senators reach billion deal on emergency Capitol security bill | House panel looks to help military sexual assault survivors | US increases airstrikes to help Afghan forces fight Taliban On The Money: Schumer, Warren call on Biden to extend student loan pause | IMF estimates 6 percent global growth this year Senators reach billion deal on emergency Capitol security bill MORE (D-Vt.) told the outlet that supporting resignation without first getting all the facts was “one of the biggest mistakes I’ve made” in 45 years in the Senate.

“If there’s one decision I’ve made that I would take back, it’s the decision to call for his resignation. It was made in the heat of the moment, without concern for exactly what this was," former North Dakota Sen. Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampJoe Manchin's secret Supreme Court battle could wreak havoc with Biden's 2020 agenda Effective and profitable climate solutions are within the nation's farms and forests MORE (D) said.

Sen. Tammy DuckworthLadda (Tammy) Tammy DuckworthOvernight Defense: Senators reach billion deal on emergency Capitol security bill | House panel looks to help military sexual assault survivors | US increases airstrikes to help Afghan forces fight Taliban Democrats pushing for changes to bipartisan infrastructure deal 10 books that take readers inside the lives of American leaders MORE (D-Ill.) told the magazine that the Senate Ethics Committee “should have been allowed to move forward,” adding that "that due process didn’t happen is not good for our democracy."

Independent Sen. Angus KingAngus KingOvernight Health Care: CDC advises vaccinated to wear masks in high-risk areas | Biden admin considering vaccine mandate for federal workers Four senators call on Becerra to back importation of prescription drugs from Canada Senate falling behind on infrastructure MORE (Maine) said he’d “regretted it ever since” joining calls for resignation.

“There’s no excuse for sexual assault,” he added. “But Al deserved more of a process. I don’t denigrate the allegations, but this was the political equivalent of capital punishment.”

“This was a rush to judgment that didn’t allow any of us to fully explore what this was about. I took the judgment of my peers rather than independently examining the circumstances," Sen. Jeff MerkleyJeff MerkleySenate Democrats press administration on human rights abuses in Philippines Bipartisan congressional commission urges IOC to postpone, relocate Beijing Games Lawmakers urge Biden to make 'bold decisions' in nuclear review MORE (D-Ore.) told the outlet. "In my heart, I’ve not felt right about it.”

“I realized almost right away I’d made a mistake. I felt terrible. I should have stood up for due process to render what it’s supposed to — the truth," former Sen. Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William NelsonTom Brady to Biden: '40 percent of the people still don't think we won' Rubio, Demings rake in cash as Florida Senate race heats up How transparency on UFOs can unite a deeply divided nation MORE (D-Fla.) said.

“I made a mistake. I started having second thoughts shortly after he stepped down. He had the right to be heard by an independent investigative body," Sen. Tom UdallTom UdallOvernight Defense: Milley reportedly warned Trump against Iran strikes | Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer killed in Afghanistan | 70 percent of active-duty military at least partially vaccinated Biden nominates former Sen. Tom Udall as New Zealand ambassador Senate Democrats befuddled by Joe Manchin MORE (D-N.M.) said. "I’ve heard from people around my state, and around the country, saying that they think he got railroaded. It doesn’t seem fair. I’m a lawyer. I really believe in due process.”

Former Senate Minority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidWarner backing 'small carve-out' on filibuster for voting rights Senate hopefuls embrace nuking filibuster Biden fails to break GOP 'fever' MORE (Nev.), who was retired at time, told The New Yorker, “It’s terrible what happened to him. It was unfair. It took the legs out from under him. He was a very fine senator.”