The Latest: Sanders says Trump, Franken cases are different
Nov. 17, 2017
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on allegations of sexual misconduct against Sen. Al Franken (all times local):
The White House says there's a difference between the sexual assault allegations against President Donald Trump and Democratic Sen. Al Franken.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders says: "Sen. Franken has admitted wrongdoing and the president hasn't. That's a very big distinction."
Sanders says Trump maintains that the more than one dozen accusations against him are baseless, adding the outcome of the November 2016 election justifies his position. "The American people spoke pretty loud and clear when they elected him president," she says.
Sanders adds the nation's confrontation with allegations of impropriety by powerful men across the media, business and political worlds is "an uncomfortable conversation for the country."
A Minnesota woman and rape survivor who worked with Sen. Al Franken to craft legislation for fellow survivors says the senator should take his name off the bill.
Abby Honold, 22, was brutally raped by a fellow University of Minnesota student in 2014. Her rapist was sentenced to six years in prison after pleading guilty in 2016.
She worked with Franken on an upcoming bill to fund special training for law enforcement officers interviewing trauma victims. But those plans changed after allegations surfaced Thursday that Franken forcibly kissed a Los Angeles radio anchor and was photographed reaching out to grope her while she slept during a 2006 USO tour.
Honold said Friday that someone else should champion the bill — and said Franken's office agrees. She calls his conduct disappointing.
The woman who accused Sen. Al Franken of forcibly kissing her and groping her during a 2006 USO tour read a letter she received from him in which he apologizes.
In an appearance on ABC's "The View" on Friday, Leeann Tweeden said Franken also discussed a photo showing Franken posing in a joking manner, smiling at the camera with his hands on her chest as she naps wearing a flak vest aboard a military plane.
Franken wrote to her: "Dear Leeann, I want to apologize to you personally. I don't know what was in my head when I took that picture. But that doesn't matter. There's no excuse. I understand why you can feel violated by that photo."
Franken did not acknowledge groping Tweeden and said he remembered the events differently. Still, he said, he was ashamed that his actions ruined the USO experience for her.
Several women who worked for Minnesota Sen. Al Franken are vouching for him after allegations of sexual harassment by a radio host.
Los Angeles radio news anchor Leeann Tweeden alleged Thursday that the former comedian forcibly kissed her while rehearsing for a 2006 USO tour performance and later was photographed reaching out to grope Tweeden as she slept during a flight.
Franken apologized to Tweeden but said he remembers the rehearsal differently.
A group of eight former Franken employees issued a joint statement Friday morning saying the senator treated them "with the utmost respect."
The statement credits Franken for fighting for women's issues in the Senate and promoting female employees within his office.
Organizers of a major book festival in Atlanta where Sen. Al Franken was scheduled to speak say the senator has abruptly canceled his appearance.
A Los Angeles radio anchor on Thursday accused Franken of kissing and groping her during a 2006 USO tour.
The Minnesota Democrat had been scheduled to speak Monday night, the closing night of the two-week-long Book Festival of the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta.
Keely Sime, the center's marketing director, said Friday that festival organizers received word Thursday that Franken would not attend his sold-out appearance.
Tickets for Franken's appearance ranged from $32 to $75 for VIP access, and included a copy of the senator's book "Al Franken, Giant of the Senate." Sime said the center is contacting those who purchased tickets.
The Los Angeles radio anchor who accused Sen. Al Franken of forcibly kissing and groping her during a 2006 USO tour says it's up to voters to decide whether he should stay in office.
Leeann Tweeden tells ABC's "Good Morning America" Friday that she decided to come forward with her story because she hopes to encourage other victims of sexual harassment and assault to tell their stories in "real time." Tweeden says she didn't speak out at the time of the incident because she felt complaining would hurt her career.
When asked if Franken should step down, Tweeden says: "That's not my call. I didn't do this to have him step down ... I think that's for the people of Minnesota to decide."
Sen. Al Franken is the latest public figure to be caught in the deluge of revelations of sexual harassment and misconduct— and the first member of Congress.
The Minnesota Democrat has apologized to Los Angeles radio anchor Leeann Tweeden and said he would welcome an ethics inquiry.
In a post Thursday on the KABC website, Tweeden accused Franken of forcibly kissing her and groping her during a 2006 USO tour. She later said that she accepts his apology.
Fellow Democrats have condemned Franken's actions, mindful of the current climate as well as the prospect of political blowback. Democrats and Republicans have called for the Senate Ethics Committee to investigate.
President Donald Trump weighed in, too, saying Franken just last week was lecturing people on sexual harassment and respect for women.