Women speak out after Sen. Al Franken's resignation announcement

Minnesota Sen. Al Franken announced Thursday that he will resign from the United States Senate "in the coming weeks."
9:32 | 12/08/17

Coming up in the next {{countdown}} {{countdownlbl}}

Coming up next:

{{nextVideo.title}}

{{nextVideo.description}}

Skip to this video now

Now Playing:

{{currentVideo.title}}

More information on this video
Enhanced full screen
Explore related content
Comments
Related Extras
Related Videos
Video Transcript
Transcript for Women speak out after Sen. Al Franken's resignation announcement
I know in my heart that nothing I have done as a senator, nothing, has brought dishonor on this institution. Nevertheless, today I am announcing that in the coming weeks, I will be resigning as a member of the United States senate. Reporter: Senator Al Franken stepping down amid mounting accusations of sexual misconduct. Three weeks ago it was this picture along with a total of eight women who have since come forward with stories of sexual misconduct against the senator. He mashes his lips against my face and he stuck his tongue in my mouth soufs -- Reporter: Today Franken answered to alleged victims and constituents. All women deserve to be heard and their experiences taken seriously. I think that was the right thing to do. I also think it gave some people the false impression that I was admitting to doing things that in fact I haven't done. Some of the allegations against me are simply not true. Others I remember very differently. Reporter: The "Me too" movement seeming to begin its reckoning in Washington. He did the right thing and I think we're at a very important moment in our history in terms of women coming forward and feeling that someone will listen to them, will hear them. I feel badly that he felt he had to resign. But you know, I guess those things happen. Reporter: Yesterday a handful of female democratic senators began calling for Franken to resign. Enough is enough. Reporter: One by one, more than three dozen senators, male and female, most of them Democrats, including minority leader chuck Schumer, joining the chorus. We're saying he should resign. And I get no pride or pleasure in saying that. Thank you. What was the tipping point here? Why today? The numerosity and the type of complaints and accusations. This was a calculated effort led by female democratic senators, including some of senator Franken's closest friends and political allies. Reporter: Franken apparently forced out, like another of his democratic colleagues. Michigan congressman John Conyers, the longest-serving member in the current house, accused by over six women of sexual harassment. Allegations he's denied. But it caused a slew of calls within his own party to resign. Eventually Conyers stepped down earlier this week. Amid two democratic resignations Franken said he couldn't ignore the irony. I am leaving while a man who has bragged on tape about his history of sexual assault sit in the oval office, and a man who has repeatedly preyed on young girls campaigns for the senate with the full support of his party. Reporter: At least eight women have accused Alabama GOP senate candidate Roy Moore of sexual misconduct. Many of them were teenagers at the time. The youngest 14 years old. Moore was in his 30s. Moore has fiercely denied all allegations. We're not going anywhere. Reporter: He now enjoys the support of president trump. While the Republican national committee is now sending resources to aid Moore's beleaguered campaign. Senate majority leader Mitch Mcconnell, who once said Moore should step aside, now appears to have softened. Do you believe judge Moore should be in the senate? I'm going to let the people of Alabama make the call. Republicans I talked to today weren't exactly eager to draw a care son between Al Franken and Roy Moore. Do you agree with the irony? I'm not going to get involved in that. A lot will be riding on that senate election in Alabama. If it is seen as the Republican party, aside from this, that people can commit any manner of offense and be a Republican politician, that is a difficult argument for Republicans to advance in the era of Harvey Weinstein. Reporter: Other Republicans putting a clearer stake in the ground. I'm not happy that the RNC is backing him. And will have long-term damage for our party and our brand. I think he should have drooped out. Reporter: Speaker Paul Ryan now helping force another congressman out. Just tonight, Arizona representative Trent franks became the third member of congress to announce his resignation this week after Ryan says he received credible claims of misconduct and told him that he should resign. Franks in a statement saying, I have absolutely never physically intimidated, coerced, or had or attempted to have any sexual contact with any member of my congressional staff." In his announcement Al Franken is leaving the senate but not quietly. There are two words he did not utter, "I'm sorry." He did not come out and say, I did those things, right? He came out and said, I didn't do some of the things that the women accuse me of. Of course he was questioning my story. You either are calling me a liar, basically, by insinuating that he remembers it differently -- Reporter: Leann tweeden was the first to come forward three weeks ago claiming Franken forcibly kissed her during a rehearsal for a USO event in Iraq in 2006 before he was a senator. And releasing this photo of him appearing to grope her on the flight home. Next came Lindsay Mins, alleging Franken groped her rear end while posing for this picture at the Arizona state fair. He was a senator at the time. I was surprised and wondering, did that really just happen? Reporter: Franken responded to the allegations. I am sorry. I know there are no magic words that I can say to regain your trust, I know that's going to take time -- Reporter: At first some Democrats were calling for an ethics investigation. The senate ethics committee should do an investigation. That's where I believe it should go. I am going to be accountable. We are going to cooperate completely with the ethics investigation. Reporter: But more accusers kept surfacing. Yesterday morning, politico reported a former democratic congressional aide said Franken tried to "Forcible kiss her" back when he was a radio show host three years before he became a senator. She said, I was really startled by it and I just sort of booked it towards the door. And he said, it's my right as an entertainer. Franken responding to politico, this's is categorically not true. And the idea that I would claim this as my right as an entertainer is preposterous. Even while facing resignation today, Franken remaining defiant. For him to not even acknowledge, own, and apologize, was a really big deal. It really showed his character, showed how he felt about the entire situation. Some of the allegations against me are simply not true -- Reporter: Franken accuser Lindsay vindication. I feel sad this is what it has come to. Instead of being able to own mistakes and move forward and make things right, he's having to resign. Reporter: With the recent fall of Hollywood and media giants like Harvey Weinstein and Matt Lauer, many feel the tidal waves of change are finally making an impact. This movement has been called a reckoning. Fair? Absolutely. Absolutely, we are experiencing a national reckoning right now. Reporter: So much so that "Time" magazine named the movement the 2017 person of the year. Calling those now speaking up the silence-breakers. Who are the silence-breakers? Women and men who spoke out this year about sexual harassment and assault in their workplaces. Reporter: Halley Sweetland Edwards is a correspondent who worked on the cover story. What does it say about this movement, the fact that today a U.S. Senator, one of the most powerful men in America, stepped down from his job? It's extraordinary. And it speaks to how powerful this group has become. That this is half the population in America. Reporter: It's a group that Franken professes to be an advocate for. I am proud that during my time in the senate I have used my power to be a champion of women. Reporter: Franken's journey to the seat of power began far from Washington. A comedian who many came to know on "Saturday night live." I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it, people like me. Reporter: On capitol hill, Franken touted himself as the standard-bearer for Progressives and a staunch proponent of women. I rise today to speak in strong opposition to legislation that would defund planned parenthood and jeopardize women's access to health care. For the most part he was a serious and diligent senator who was committed to a core group of issues, including many issues that involve women's empowerment and women's rights. Reporter: A visible he'der in the democratic party whose alleged inappropriate conduct and behavior ultimately cost him his seat at the table. Is it possible for someone to be a Progressive voice for women and be a sexual harasser? Of course it is, his name's Al Franken. Minnesotans deserve a senator who can focus with all her energy on addressing the challenges they face every day. Reporter: As for who might fill senator Franken's seat, the democratic governor of Minnesota says he will announce a replacement in the coming days. And next year there could be a special election.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

{"id":51663180,"title":"Women speak out after Sen. Al Franken's resignation announcement","duration":"9:32","description":"Minnesota Sen. Al Franken announced Thursday that he will resign from the United States Senate \"in the coming weeks.\"","url":"/Nightline/video/women-speak-sen-al-frankens-resignation-announcement-51663180","section":"Nightline","mediaType":"default"}