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Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., on Capitol Hill. Photo: Carolyn Kaster / AP

A former elected official in New England claims Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) tried to forcibly give her a "wet, open-mouthed kiss" on stage during an event in 2006, Jezebel reports. Franken's office has not returned an Axios request for comment.

Why it matters: There have been a few calls for Franken to resign from the Senate, and this accusation suggests there could be more to come against the senator, therefore increasing the pressure to resign.

The details: The woman, who asked to remain anonymous, told Jezebel that she met Franken when she was the chair of her New England town's Selectboard (a group of town officials). Franken was a radio host at the time and asked her to be a guest on his show and to be interviewed in front of a live audience at a local theater.

"I reached out my hand to shake his," she recalled to Jezebel. "He took it and leaned toward me with his mouth open. I turned my head away from him and he landed a wet, open-mouthed kiss awkwardly on my cheek."

Franken has been accused by five other women in recent weeks, starting with Leeann Tweeden, who recalled Franken trying to forcibly kiss her and of whom a photo surfaced showing Franken reaching at her breasts while she was sleeping.

Go deeper

Democrats brace for staredown over paid family medical leave

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Senior House Democrats are braced for battle with the Senate over whether paid family medical leave — a key priority for progressives — will be included in President Biden’s final budget reconciliation bill, lawmakers and aides tell Axios.

Why it matters: Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) has indicated he wants to cut the program to reduce the bill's price tag. “Paid family and medical leave must be in the final package,” Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass.), chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, told Axios on Monday.

34 mins ago - World

Poland showdown is EU's Jan. 6 moment, top official says

Didier Reynders. Photo: Thierry Monasse/Getty Images

Poland and Hungary have forced a moment of reflection on the European Union — similar to the one in the U.S. after the Jan. 6 insurrection, EU Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders told Axios.

What he's saying: "During many years, we have had in our minds that it was granted that if you are a member of the EU, of course you apply the rule of law; you have full respect for democracy, fundamental rights and so on — maybe with some concerns but with a real intention to adapt your legislation to be in full compliance [with EU law]," Reynders said.

The E-commerce shopping spree

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Retailers have gotten really good at selling stuff online. So much so, investors want them to separate from the business units that do just that.

Why it matters: Spinning off these crown jewels may jeopardize both the physical and e-commerce sides of the companies in the long run by breaking the benefits of hybrid operations, analysts say.

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