Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) said Sunday that his colleague Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) has dealt with allegations, and photographic evidence, of sexual misconduct “in a responsible way.” Durbin did admit that what Franken did “was wrong” but called for the Senate Ethics Committee to complete their investigation.
“Al Franken has acknowledged what he did was wrong, and it was wrong,” Durbin said on CNN’s State of the Union. “He's also submitted his whole case to the Senate Ethics Committee. I think that was the right thing to do. Let's have a hearing, an investigation. Let's let this really reach whatever conclusion it's going to reach, but through a due process.”
“That to me makes sense,” he added. “Others who have tried to run away through charges–you have to say Al Franken has faced it, and he's done it in a responsible way.”
Franken did issue a lengthy apology for the incident with radio anchor Leeann Tweeden, specifically the photo she released showing Franken groping her while she slept.
However, Franken was a bit vaguer in response to allegations of groping from multiple women who say he took advantage of photo opportunities to grab them from behind.
Franken explained this in a recent interview by arguing he’s “someone who, you know, hugs people.”
"I've learned from these stories that in some of these encounters I have crossed the line for some women,” he added.
When directly asked whether he may have placed his hand on women’s butts during photos, Franken acknowledged there might be even more reports against him.
“I can’t say that it hasn’t happened," Franken told a local news station Sunday. "In crowded chaotic situations, I can’t say that I have not done that. I am very sorry if these women experienced that."
Franken says he does not plan to step down and so far even his Democratic colleagues who’ve acknowledged that his behavior is wrong, including rising feminist star Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), can’t bring themselves to say he should resign.