Sen. Al Franken to leave U.S. Senate, swept up in harassment allegations

Sen. Al Franken to leave U.S. Senate, swept up in harassment allegations. By Jennifer Brooks.

Sen. Al Franken said he would resign from the U.S. Senate on Thursday following mounting allegations of sexual harassment and loss of support by fellow Democrats, a stunning and rapid fall for a Minnesota politician who followed decades as a successful TV comic with a rise to the highest echelons of U.S. political power. …

While he bowed to political reality, saying he could no longer be effective, Franken sought to clear his own name.

“I know there’s been a very different picture of me painted through the last few weeks, but I know who I really am,” Franken said. Of the claims against him by more than half a dozen women, he said: “Some of the allegations aren’t true. Others I remember differently.” …

“I of all people am aware that there is some irony in the fact I am leaving while a man who has bragged on tape of his history of sexual assault is in the Oval Office, and a man who has repeatedly preyed on young girls has the full support of his party,” Franken said. …

Franken, who had been a vocal champion of women’s rights and a popular, in-demand spokesman for various progressive causes, found himself caught up in a growing cultural movement around outing bad behavior toward women by men in positions of power. By abandoning Franken along with former U.S. Rep. John Conyers, who resigned earlier this week, Democrats are drawing a distinction between their party and Republicans at a time when Trump has thrown his full support behind Moore, accused of sexual abuse of underage girls.

When Bill Clinton was President the media/Democrats shrugged it all off and denied everything. Rape, coercion using state troopers, whatever, and feminists supported Clinton. But under Trump, women are the most precious things and any unwanted sexual advance has become a sacking offense. Clearly it’s not the principle, but about power and political tribe.