WASHINGTON — A House Republican suggested today that Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) shouldn’t have been so quick to say he would resign, as some Senate Dems are urging the former SNL comedian to not abandon his congressional seat after all.
With the majority of his caucus calling for him to step down — Senate Dem women started the avalanche — Franken announced Dec. 7 that “in the coming weeks” he will be resigning from office.
Franken faced several allegations of making unwanted sexual advances, and said he didn’t mean to give the “false impression that I was admitting to doing things that, in fact, I haven’t done,” because “some of the allegations against me are simply not true; others, I remember very differently.” He added that he felt he’d be exonerated in an ethics investigation.
Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Pa.) told CNN this morning that he thought the resignations of Reps. John Conyers (D-Mich.) and Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), both charged with sexual harassment involving staff, were “appropriate under those circumstances.”
“The Franken case is more complex. I think he should have been afforded a bit more due process than he was,” Dent said. “Having said that, with these cases, and in his case, when I first heard the initial allegation, I said that was before he was a member of the Senate, but then other allegations came out. I’m hesitant to say too much. I don’t know what else there is. But I think he probably should have been afforded a bit more due process than he was.”
The congressman, once a member of the House Ethics Committee, speculated Franken may be resigning “because he will go through a very arduous process that will be very difficult for him and his family.”
“I never heard an accusation against Senator Franken of mistreating or behaving inappropriately with his staff or Senate staff,” Dent added. “So I think there’s a bit of a nuance that’s different than some of the other cases.”
Minnesota Lt. Gov. Tina Smith (D) has already been selected to fill Franken’s seat until the next election. Politico reported that Franken is pleased with the appointment of Smith and intends to resign as planned early next month.
“I think it would be tough to put that genie back in the bottle,” Dent opined. “Once you announce your resignation, it’s pretty much time to go.”
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) this morning blasted how his colleagues dogpiled Franken, saying the Minnesota Dem “should go through the process of what he’s asked for, due process.”
“I believe that we should have a process to where women can come out and be protected when they have been violated and they should be able to state that and be protected in doing it. And I believe a person that’s been accused ought to have a process that we can investigate thoroughly,” Manchin told CNN. “And whatever the findings are, be prosecuted or be removed or found innocent of those charges or not of danger to where they should be someone eliminated.”
Manchin said he was sickened by Democrats’ treatment of Franken.
“Here’s a person who says, hey, take me through [the ethics investigation]. I have a lot of faults in life. I don’t think this one of them, but I’m willing to go through this. And if it’s something I haven’t picked up on, then, fine, do what you want with me. He asked for that. And they wouldn’t even — my own fellow Democrats wouldn’t even give him that courtesy,” the West Virginia senator said.
“The political rancoring here is just — it’s just unbelievable to me how you can destroy a human’s life and his family and everything that they stand for without giving him a chance,” Manchin added. “…I definitely think he should not resign. I think he should submit himself, which he has willingly done and offered to do, and go through this complete process of an extensive ethics review. And whatever the outcome is, I will live with that.”