You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Al Franken Returns to Senate, Says ‘This Will Not Happen Again’

WASHINGTON — Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) returned to the Senate on Monday, telling reporters that he “let a lot of people down” as allegations from four women surfaced that he groped or kissed them inappropriately before and after his political career.

Franken appeared before reporters outside his Senate office, and gave no indication that he was planning to resign.

“I know that I have let a lot of people down,” Franken said.

He apologized to the women accusers, as well as to his constituents.

“To all of you, I just want to say again, I am sorry,” he said. “I know that there are no magic words I can say to regain your trust, and I know that is going to take time, I am ready to start that process and it starts with going back to work today.”

Leeann Tweeden, a radio host for KABC in Los Angeles, said Franken groped her and kissed her inappropriately when they were on a USO tour in 2006. Since then, Lindsay Menz has come forward to allege that Franken grabbed her buttocks during a photo shoot at the Minnesota State Fair in 2010. Two other women told the Huffington Post that Franken groped them as they took photos during his initial Senate campaign in 2007 and 2008.

Franken has said he does not recall the photo shoots, but told reporters that “it has been clear there are some women — and one is too many — who feel that I have done something that is disrespectful, that has hurt them, and for that I am tremendously sorry. I know that I am going to have to be much more conscious in these circumstances, much more careful, and much more sensitive, and that this will never happen again going forward.”

He added, “I’m going to try to learn from my mistakes. In doing so, I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting and I want to be someone who adds something to this conversation. I hope I can do that.”

He said he recalled the circumstances of one of Tweeden’s allegations differently — when he kissed her as part of a rehearsal for a sketch — but “I feel that you have to respect a woman’s experience.”

Franken said he would cooperate with a Senate ethics committee investigation. In the wake of Tweeden’s allegations, he called for such a probe, as did Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).

Franken spoke to Minnesota media outlets over the weekend to apologize for the incidents, and he also vowed to regain voters’ trust. He had missed some Senate votes and other events in the wake of the allegations.

More Politics

  • Roger Stone, longtime advisor to President

    Robert Mueller's Team Denies Roger Stone's Claim That It Tipped Off CNN to His Arrest

    WASHINGTON — Special Counsel Robert Mueller and federal prosecutors denied that they prematurely released a draft of the indictment of Roger Stone and said claims that CNN was tipped off to his arrest are “without merit.” Stone was arrested on Jan. 25 on charges of giving misleading testimony to Congress and intimidating a witness, but [...]

  • Kamala Harris

    Kamala Harris 'Frustrated and Disappointed' by Jussie Smollett Allegedly Staging Attack

    Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) has spoken out against Jussie Smollett after the “Empire” actor was charged by police for allegedly filing a false police report. “Like most of you, I’ve seen the reports about Jussie Smollett, and I’m sad, frustrated, and disappointed,” Harris said in a statement posted Thursday on Twitter. “When anyone makes false [...]

  • Ajit Pai net neutrality vote

    Congress Orders FCC Review of TV Content Ratings

    WASHINGTON — The FCC is being directed to review the 22-year-old TV content ratings system to gauge its accuracy. The review was part of the recently passed spending bill that funds the government through Sept. 30. It requires that the FCC report back to the House and Senate appropriations committee within 90 days “on the [...]

  • Maxine Waters

    Maxine Waters Reacts to Jussie Smollett Arrest: 'I Would Be Disappointed' if It's a Hoax

    Maxine Waters said she “would be disappointed” if it’s proven that her friend Jussie Smollett staged his own attack. Speaking with Variety‘s Marc Malkin on Thursday at Essence’s Black Women in Hollywood Awards, the U.S. representative from California said, “If in fact it’s a hoax, of course I would be disappointed.” Smollett faces one felony [...]

  • Roger Stone, longtime advisor to President

    Judge Bars Roger Stone From Talking Publicly About Russia Investigation

    WASHINGTON — Roger Stone was prohibited from commenting any about Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation — including the charges that he faces. U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson placed new restrictions on Stone after he posted a picture of her on Instagram earlier this week that featured a photo of her and of a [...]

  • Jussie Smollett

    Celebrities, Politicians React to Jussie Smollett Arrest: 'This Story Is Pathetic'

    Following the arrest of Jussie Smollett on Thursday, with the “Empire” star facing charges of filing a false police report and disorderly conduct after allegedly staging an attack, celebrities and politicians were quick to weigh in on social media. President Donald Trump tweeted Thursday morning, “What about MAGA and the tens of millions of people [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content