WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Democrat Al Franken will resign from the U.S. Senate on Thursday, Minnesota Public Radio reported, after more than half of his Senate Democratic colleagues urged him to do so in light of sexual misconduct accusations.
Franken’s office said in an email that no final decision had been made and that the senator was still discussing the issue with his family.
After the accusations began surfacing three weeks ago, Franken had said he would remain in office and work to regain the trust of voters in Minnesota, the state he represents.
Calls on Wednesday from the majority of his Senate Democratic colleagues for him to resign, including Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer and almost all of the Democratic women in the chamber, put great pressure on Franken.
“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,” Schumer said in a statement.
Senator Al Franken (D-MN) questions Alex Azar (not pictured) during a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing on his nomination to be Health and Human Services secretary on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., November 29, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
Franken said on Twitter that he would make an announcement on Thursday, but he offered no details.
In its report, Minnesota Public Radio cited a Democratic official who had spoken to the senator and aides.
Franken is one of a number of prominent American men in politics, media and entertainment who have been accused in recent months of sexual harassment and misconduct.
Another accusation against Franken surfaced on Wednesday when news website Politico reported that a congressional aide said Franken had tried to forcibly kiss her in 2006, before he was first elected as a senator. Franken denied the allegations, Politico reported.
Franken’s office did not reply to a request for comment on the Politico report.
Reporting by Makini Brice; Additional reporting by David Alexander, Susan Cornwell, Maria Caspani and Lisa Lambert; Writing by Makini Brice and Tim Ahmann; Editing by Clive McKeef and Toni Reinhold