Al Franken is Fighting Back Against His Sexual Misconduct Allegations A Year and a Half After Resigning

If you watch the news, you may know that former SNL head writer Al Franken was a Senator, and that he resigned from the Senate in early 2018 amid allegations that he had fondled, groped or otherwise been inappropriate with at least seven women, including some allegations from his time in the Senate.

He now thinks that was a mistake, and not just because multiple allegations of rape against President Donald Trump have literally had no effect on his poll numbers. And if you were expecting the Democrats to impeach Trump over something like doing rapes, well, you don’t know Nancy Pelosi. She’s very bad at this whole “wielding the power of her office” thing.

There was a huge feature on Franken in The New Yorker on Monday, in which Franken says, among other things, that he’s innocent and that he made a mistake leaving the Senate, even though he was pushed out by Chuck Schumer, who isn’t any better than Nancy Pelosi at, well, anything, really.

Franken asked to meet with Schumer, who suggested talking at his apartment in downtown D.C., in order to avoid the press. “It was like a scene out of a movie,” Franken recalled. Schumer sat on the edge of his bed while Franken and his wife, who had come to lend moral support, pleaded for more time. According to Franken, Schumer told him to quit by 5 p.m.; otherwise, he would instruct the entire Democratic caucus to demand Franken’s resignation. Schumer’s spokesperson denied that Schumer had threatened to organize the rest of the caucus against Franken. But he confirmed that Schumer told Franken that he needed to announce his resignation by five o’clock. Schumer also said that if Franken stayed he could be censured and stripped of committee assignments.

“I couldn’t believe it,” Franken told me. “I asked him for due process and he said no.”

By the end of the day, thirty-six Democratic senators had publicly demanded Franken’s resignation, including Schumer, who had known Franken since they had overlapped at Harvard. Schumer declined to be interviewed, but sent a statement: “Al Franken’s decision to step down was the right decision—for the good of the Senate and the good of the country. I regret losing him as a colleague but given the circumstances, it was inevitable.”

Interestingly, though Kirsten Gillibrand was the most publicly outspoken Democrat calling for Franken to resign and the blowback from that among moderates has basically destroyed her chances of winning her presidential bid; the primary beneficiary of Gillibrand’s unpopularity, Kamala Harris, was key in pushing Schumer to force Franken to resign.

So should Al Franken have been pushed out? Well, eight accusers is a lot, but these were all pretty minor incidents. And it’s not like him resigning meant that there was increased pressure on a single Republican anywhere in the country over sexual misconduct.

There probably should have been a hearing into the extent of his wrongdoing and the credibility of his accusers. There’s really no reason to rush when we could have had due process.

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