Senators from our region call on Franken to resign

WASHINGTON (WCAX) U.S. senators from our region are calling on Minnesota Sen. Al Franken to resign following new sexual misconduct accusations.

Franken says he will have an announcement Thursday and top Senate Democrat Ron Wyden says he expects Franken to resign.

Wednesday morning, a host of female Democratic senators called upon Franken to step aside. Among them, New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and New Hampshire Sen. Maggie Hassan.

Wednesday afternoon, Vermont Sens. Patrick Leahy and Bernie Sanders added their voices to the chorus.

In a statement, Leahy said: "While the facts from case to case can differ, and while there are sound reasons for weighing evidence in such cases in a deliberate and carefully considered process, Senator Franken's situation has become untenable. I am concerned that even a prompt Ethics Committee investigation and recommendations will not come soon enough. He has to step aside."

Sanders released a statement saying: "The right thing is for him to resign. We are now at a crossroads in American culture. And it is an important one. The way we treat women in our country has been abysmal in almost every way. We are finally addressing the issue of sexual harassment, and we need to get it right."

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York said while he considers Franken "a dear friend," he has a higher obligation to his constituents and the Senate and Franken "should step down immediately."

Earlier Wednesday, Gillibrand wrote on Facebook that while Franken is entitled to have the Ethics Committee conclude its review, "I believe it would be better for our country if he sent a clear message that any kind of mistreatment of women in our society isn't acceptable by stepping aside to let someone else serve."

Hassan tweeted: "It is clear that Al Franken has engaged in a pattern of egregious and unacceptable behavior toward women. He should resign."

Franken was already facing a Senate Ethics Committee investigation into previous claims by other women that he groped them.