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Dennis Van Tine/STAR MAX/IPx

Sen. Al Franken told the Star Tribune he's "embarrassed and ashamed" that he has been accused of groping four women, but said "this is not something I would intentionally do."

Beyond written statements, Franken had not previously spoken about the allegations. He said he does not remember the photographs during which we allegedly touched women's bottoms. He says he'll return to work on Monday.

In quotes:
  • "I know I have a lot of work to do to regain the trust of the people I've let down, the people of Minnesota, my friends and colleagues, everyone who counts on me to be a champion for women."
  • "I'm embarrassed and ashamed. I've let a lot of people down and I'm hoping I can make it up to them and gradually regain their trust."
  • Will more women come forward?: "If you had asked me two weeks ago, 'Would any woman say I had treated her with disrespect?' I would have said no. So this has just caught me by surprise ... I certainly hope not."

Go deeper

10,000 trees near giant sequoia groves to be removed after fires

A firefighter looks up at a giant sequoia tree after fire burned through the Sequoia National Forest near California Hot Springs, California, on Sept. 23. Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

"Upwards of" 10,000 trees near giant sequoia groves have been "weakened by drought, disease, age, and/or fire" and must be removed in the wake of California's wildfires, the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks announced.

Why it matters: The damage to these trees, considered "national treasures," and work to remove them means a nearby key highway must remain closed to visitors as they have "the potential to strike people, cars, other structures, or create barriers to emergency response services," per a statement from the national parks.

Obama stumps for McAuliffe, urges Virginians not "to go back to the chaos"

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Former President Barack Obama framed a Nov. 2 gubernatorial race as a bellwether for the Democratic Party and the country, telling a crowd at a campaign event for Terry McAuliffe on Saturday that "I believe you, right here in Virginia, are going to show the rest of the country and the world that we're not going to indulge in our worst instincts."

Why it matters: With just over a week to go before Election Day in the Commonwealth, McAuliffe is bringing out the big guns. The 44th president appeared on the campus of Virginia Commonwealth University to urge supporters to get to the polls.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Axios AM Deep Dive: America’s murder surge

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Erik McGregor/LightRocket via Getty Images

Homicides rose at the fastest rate in at least six decades last year. This Axios AM Deep Dive, led by Future correspondent Bryan Walsh, looks at the state of gun crime.

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