After a new sexual assault allegation against Sen. Al Franken was reported Wednesday, a group of Senate Democrats, led by New York's Kirsten Gillibrand, called for their colleague to resign. It was a call later echoed by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. Our Washington D.C. Bureau Reporter Alberto Pimienta has the story.
"I do not feel that he should continue to serve," Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand said Wednesday morning about Sen. Al Franken.
Gillibrand was the first Democratic lawmaker to weigh in, telling Sen. Al Franken that he needs to resign.
This comes after a new sexual assault allegation has surfaced against the senator. Politico reports that Franken in 2006, three years before he was in the Senate, tried to forcibly kiss a former Congressional aide after a taping of his radio show.
When she ducked to avoid the unwanted advance, Franken reportedly said, "It's my right as an entertainer."
Franken denied the accusation Wednesday and said the claims were "preposterous."
"Enough is enough. I mean, this is a conversation we've been having for a very long time and it's a conversation that this country needs to have," Gillibrand said. "We, as elected leaders, should absolutely be held to a higher standard."
Soon after Gillibrand's words, the floodgates opened. Now, more of his Democratic colleagues are asking Franken to go.
After staying silent for most of Wednesday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer also said Franken needs to resign:
"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," New York's senior senator said in a statement.
At least seven women are accusing Franken of unwanted sexual advances.
"Sen. Franken is entitled to the Senate ethics investigation process, but I don't think Congress is equipped, I don't think they have the tools to do the kind of accountability that the American people are searching for," Gillibrand said.
Combating sexual assault on campus and the military has been a legislative priority for Gillibrand.
Now, the senator is bringing her fight to Capitol Hill. She introduced a bill to combat the secretive and convoluted process Congress staffers have to go through to report sexual harassment.
In November, Gillibrand sent shockwaves when she said President Clinton should have resigned after his affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky.
Franken was missing all day from hearings and votes on the Senate floor.
The senator is making an announcement Thursday. It's until unknown if Franken will announce his retirement.