Welcome to WHAT NOW, a morning round-up of the news/fresh horrors that await you today.
Minnesota Senator Al Franken withstood allegations of sexual misconduct from six women without hearing calls for his resignation from his Democratic colleagues. But behind the scenes, Democratic women senators reached an unspoken consensus that the next credible allegation would be the tipping point to call for him to step down, Politico reported on Thursday.
A Democratic aide told the site that the women had been discussing the allegations against Franken—whom many considered a close friend—among themselves for weeks, although none initially went further than calling for an Ethics Committee investigation into his behavior.
But the dam broke on Wednesday after Politico reported allegations from a seventh woman, who said Franken tried to forcibly kiss her during a taping of his radio show in 2006. When she pulled away, she claims Franken told her, “it’s my right as an entertainer,” which he denied. Soon after that story, an eighth woman, Tina Dupuy, published a piece saying Franken had groped her.
Not long after, New York Senator Kristen Gillibrand, who’s pushed for reforming Congress’ weak policies around sexual harassment, became the first to call for Franken to step aside. She was followed by nearly every Democratic female senator along with several male colleagues. CNN has put the total number of Senate Democrats who have called for Franken to resign at 32.
Although Franken’s office insisted a final decision about his future hadn’t been made when they said he would make an announcement today, Minnesota Public Radio reported late Wednesday that he plans to resign today.
- Donald Trump Jr. is confused about what “attorney-client privilege” entails, declining to answer questions from the House Intelligence Committee yesterday because there was an attorney in the room during the interaction at issue.
- The State Department issued a “worldwide caution” for traveling American citizens after President Trump formally recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, a move that hasn’t happened because of a policy decision since the start of the Iraq War in 2003.
- Australia became the 26th country to legalize same sex marriage.
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