Fellow Democratic senators are calling for Sen. Al Franken to step down—and a Democratic official says he plans to do so. The official told Minnesota Public Radio on Wednesday that Franken, who has been accused of sexual harassment by multiple women, plans to announce his resignation Thursday. MPR agreed to withhold the official's name to allow the Minnesota senator to explain the decision in his own words. But there has been no confirmation from the senator: Franken is "talking with his family at this time and plans to make an announcement in DC tomorrow," a tweet from his official account said. "Any reports of a final decision are inaccurate." In other developments:
- A possible successor. If Franken does step down, Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton will appoint a temporary replacement ahead of a Nov. 2018 special election. A source tells the Minneapolis Star-Tribune that the Democrat is likely to name Lt. Gov. Tina Smith.
- Another accuser. At the Atlantic, Tina Dupuy says she believes Franken's seven accusers—because he groped her, too. Dupuy says that at a 2009 Media Matters party after President Obama's inauguration, she asked Franken for a photo. "We posed for the shot," she writes. "He immediately put his hand on my waist, grabbing a handful of flesh. I froze. Then he squeezed. At least twice."
- The tipping point. Insiders tell Politico that female Democratic senators agreed in recent weeks that they would ask Franken to resign if another credible accuser came forward—and that "tipping point" came Wednesday, when a former aide said he tried to forcibly kiss her in 2006. More than 15 Democratic senators have now urged Franken to step down, including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.
- Zero tolerance? Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight looks at why Democrats have decided Franken needs to go now instead of waiting for the outcome of a Senate Ethics Committee investigation. The fact that more women have come forward is an obvious reason, he writes, but Democrats—who have spoken of "zero tolerance" for sexual harassment—want to maintain the moral high ground and demonstrate that they are handling the issue in a different way than Republicans.
- The next step. At NPR, congressional correspondent Susan Davis says lawmakers from both parties are working on legislation to combat sexual harassment in Congress and in workplaces across America. "There's a lot of Republicans in support of this legislation who want to capture this cultural moment and send a message that it's time to sort of remake how we think about the American workplace," she says.
(Read more Al Franken