Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) faced some very tough questions in his first interview since allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced in the aftermath of the Harvey Weinstein Hollywood sex scandal.
What did Franken say?
Franken spoke to Esme Murphy of WCCO-TV in Minneapolis for 35 minutes about the allegations and his recollection of the interactions.
“Are they mistaken that their butt was grabbed? Is that what you’re saying?” Murphy asked.
“I am not saying that,” Franken responded. “I don’t remember these. As I said, I take thousands of photos, so I don’t remember these particular photos.”
“I think, with all due respect,” Murphy pressed, “I think people are going to look at this and find it hard to believe that someone such as yourself wouldn’t know that they were grabbing somebody’s butt.”
“I can understand how people would feel that way,” Franken replied.
“Have you ever placed a hand on some woman’s butt?” she asked.
“You know, I can’t say that that hasn’t happened,” he answered.
“Can you really continue to claim kind of a moral high ground on some of these issues,” Murphy asked, “including the Trump-Russia investigation, when a lot of people feel that you’ve been less than transparent about these particular allegations?”
“I think I’m a good questioner,” Franken said. “I think that the questions that I’m asking don’t go to my credibility, they go to the credibility of the witness, they go to—”
“But hasn’t your credibility been undermined?” she interrupted.
“I would say yes,” he admitted.
Franken refused to comment on other figures accused of sexual harassment, including President Donald Trump, former CBS and PBS news anchor Charlie Rose, and Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore.
What are the allegations against Franken?
News anchor Leeann Tweeden first accused the senator of forcibly kissing her in a skit rehearsal during a USO Tour. She also produced a picture of Franken appearing to grope her chest while she was sleeping, apparently as a joke.
Three other women followed with their own accounts of sexual harassment allegedly at the hands of the senator. One said he grabbed her buttocks at a Democratic fundraiser while they took a photo together. The other claims were similar in their details.