Nov 16, 2017

Axios PM

1 big thing: sexual harassment allegations tidal wave hits sitting senator

Sen. Al Franken has apologized after radio news anchor Leeann Tweeden said today that he groped and kissed her without consent in 2006.

The allegations date from when the two were in Afghanistan to entertain the troops:

  • Tweeden says Franken wrote a special part for her in his script, in which the two were meant to kiss.
  • While rehearing their lines before the show, Franken insisted they practice the kissing scene, to which she objected.
  • "I said 'OK' so he would stop badgering me."
  • "We did the line leading up to the kiss and then he came at me, put his hand on the back of my head, mashed his lips against mine and aggressively stuck his tongue in my mouth," she wrote.
  • "I immediately pushed him away with both of my hands against his chest and told him if he ever did that to me again I wouldn't be so nice about it the next time."
  • "I walked away. All I could think about was getting to a bathroom as fast as possible to rinse the taste of him out of my mouth."
  • "I felt disgusted and violated."
  • She later found a photo of Franken groping her chest while she was asleep on the plane.

Why it matters: Tweeden said she is finally coming forward after hearing other women's stories of sexual assault. (Video).

The fallout: Franken received widespread condemnation from his fellow senators, and now faces a Senate Ethics Committee probe. He said he'll fully cooperate, and has issued a pair of apologies, which Tweeden accepted.

  • P.S.: Roy Moore said at a press conference today that he refuses to exit the Alabama Senate race.
  • P.P.S.: Another woman has come forward against George H.W. Bush, saying he groped her in 1992.
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