The Note: In #MeToo moment, as political titans fall, will Congress ponder the pace and process?

PHOTO: In this image from video from Senate Television, Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., speaks on the Senate floor of the Capitol in Washington, Dec. 7, 2017. PlaySenate TV via AP
WATCH Republican congressman resigns after surrogacy talks with female staffers

The TAKE with Rick Klein

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It may seem slow compared to the speed with which titans have fallen in other fields.

But pause to reflect – if you're not already dizzy – not just at the pace but at the process, as three prominent members of Congress were forced out of their jobs this week – brought down in a national movement of women speaking out about sexual harassment and worse.

First went Rep. John Conyers, a half-century of service in Congress wiped out just like that. Next went Sen. Al Franken, a one-time presidential contender and one of the most recognizable lawmakers in Washington, and Rep. Trent Franks, a social conservative stalwart, is gone after discussing surrogacy with two previous female staffers — which made them uncomfortable.

All were nudged by a combination of allegations of sexual misconduct seeping into the public realm and pressure from leadership as a result of those claims.

But is this process sustainable – for Congress, and for a nation reeling from the rapid-fire rounds of revelations?

Each of these exits may be warranted. But the ousters set precedents that could be problematic for all involved.

This is a moment of extreme tumult, made familiar only by the new norms of the Trump era. Expecting clarity, even after decisive action, might prove folly.

The RUNDOWN with MaryAlice Parks

It has been a bruising week for Democrats. Headlines full of accusations against their colleagues pitted Democrats against each other.

The group of female Democratic senators, who in unison led the call for Senator Al Franken to resign, seemed determined to show they were modernizing their party and acting on stated convictions.

Standing with women who said they had been victimized or harassed was too important to hedge any longer, even it meant losing one of their own.

But others urged caution and called for processes. Party leaders more than once were caught in the middle. As a whole, Democrats on the Hill appeared to stumble a bit, hesitating and reversing opinions about the best course forward.

The struggle for transparency and search for best practices on this issue this week paralleled conversations taking place elsewhere in the party about other possible reforms.

Today and tomorrow, the Democratic National Committee's unity reform commission will, for example, finalize its list of recommended changes for ways the party can improve its operations. Fewer super delegates, stricter caucuses, and more accessible primaries: all likely proposals for opening up and cleaning up their ranks.

Earning back trust and enforcing new standards does not happen overnight.

THE TIP with Alexander Mallin

During the president's remarks at a White House event for National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, a veteran standing behind President Trump suddenly burst into song in a heartwarming moment.

The president evoked the song "Remember Pearl Harbor" and turned to the attendees asking, "Have you heard that before a few times?"

Then, Michael Ganitch, or "Mickey" as he likes to be called, immediately started singing the song from beginning to end.

"Remember Pearl Harbor, as you go to meet the foe. Just remember Pearl Harbor, as we did the Alamo. We shall always remember how they died for liberty. Just remember Pearl Harbor, and go on to victory!"

Mickey was serving as the Chief Quartermaster in the United States Navy on the USS Pennsylvania when the Japanese bombed the ship on December 7.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY

  • President Trump will hold a 8 p.m. ET campaign rally in Pensacola, Fla. before heading to Mar-a-Lago for the weekend.
  • Secretary of State Rex Tillerson meets with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris at 8:30 a.m. ET.
  • Attorney General Jeff Sessions hosts a roundtable on drug policy at the Justice Department at 10 a.m. ET.
  • A federal appeals court in Richmond will hear arguments today in the government's appeal of a ruling prohibiting the enforcement of President Trump's travel ban at 9 a.m. ET.
  • The Democratic National Committee's Unity Reform Commission is meeting to discuss final recommendation for an "accessible, transparent, and inclusive" presidential nomination process at 10 a.m ET.
  • The United Nations Security Council will hold a session on President Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel at 9:30 a.m. ET.
  • QUOTE OF THE DAY

    "I, of all people, am aware that there is some irony in the fact that I am leaving while a man who has bragged on tape about his history of sexual assault sits 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." —- Senator Al Franken said during his address on the Senate floor to announce his resignation.

    NEED TO READ

  • Sen. Al Franken says he'll resign from Senate 'in the coming weeks' amid sexual harassment allegations. The announcement came a day after a number of his Democratic colleagues called for him to step down amid mounting allegations that he sexually harassed women. (Veronica Stracqualursi and Adam Kelsey) http://abcn.ws/2j3RyDJ
  • ANALYSIS: In Franken's withdrawal, a challenge to Republicans. Sen. Al Franken is leaving Congress. But he's not going quietly. (Rick Klein) http://abcn.ws/2BJETJK
  • Some Senators avoid comparing Al Franken and Roy Moore. After Democrats called for — and got — Sen. Al Franken's resignation amid sexual misconduct allegations, Republicans are now being forced to face the question of why the Republican-backed Senate candidate Roy Moore in Alabama isn't being held to the same standard. (Mary Bruce and Mariam Khan) http://abcn.ws/2j3TRqi
  • Who is on the short list to replace Al Franken in the Senate. If Franken leaves Congress before the end of May, that will prompt a special election in Minnesota next November, with a regularly scheduled election for the seat in November 2020. Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton, a Democrat, will appoint an interim senator. (MaryAlice Parks) http://abcn.ws/2BP2E3H
  • Congress passes two-week stopgap to avoid government shutdown. With one day to spare before a looming government shutdown, Congress passed a short-term funding measure Thursday, sending the bill to President Donald Trump's desk and providing legislators with two additional weeks to negotiate a longer-term solution. (Ali Rogin and John Parkinson) http://abcn.ws/2BKYfOD
  • Arizona GOP Rep. Trent Franks announces resignation after discussing surrogacy with female staffers. Eight-term Republican Rep. Trent Franks of Arizona announced Thursday night he is resigning from the U.S. House of Representatives. (John Parkinson, Benjamin Siegel, Meridith McGraw and Ali Rogin) http://abcn.ws/2nFilHM
  • Lewandowski: White House lacks ‘top politics operative' ahead of 2018 elections. Two former top campaign aides to President Trump still working outside of the White House, David Bossie and Corey Lewandowski, shared their candid assessment of the ups and downs of the Trump presidency thus far on the "Powerhouse Politics" podcast with ABC News' Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl and Political Director Rick Klein. (John Verhovek) http://abcn.ws/2yOJtHU
  • George Papadopoulos' finance: He's a patriot, not a Trump campaign coffee boy. "George is very loyal to his country," Simona Mangiante told ABC News chief anchor George Stephanopoulos in an exclusive interview. "He is already on the right side of history. I think he will make a big difference." (Rhonda Schwartz and Matthew Mosk) http://abcn.ws/2y7rXer
  • Civil rights icon skipping museum opening because President Trump is expected to attend. President Trump's expected attendance at the opening of a civil rights museum in Jackson, Mississippi this weekend has led Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., one of the country's top civil rights heroes, to boycott the event. (John Parkinson) http://abcn.ws/2Amfg5t
  • Former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio ‘strongly considering' Senate run. Controversial former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio is "strongly considering" mounting a bid for the U.S. Senate in 2018, he told ABC News Thursday. The former sheriff of Maricopa County said he has not spoken with the president about his thoughts of running for the Senate, but added, "if I run, I'm running for him." (Jordyn Phelps) http://abcn.ws/2BfZ0CP
  • Less-guarded Sessions spars with interns in internal DOJ video. At one point, he seemed to mock a Justice Department intern for questioning whether marijuana is dangerous. (Mike Levine and Geneva Sands) http://abcn.ws/2Bgnc88
  • Researchers share never-before-seen images of US ship that fired 1st shots at Pearl Harbor. Seventy-six years after the attack on Pearl Harbor, researchers are sharing rare underwater images of the USS Ward -- the U.S. Navy destroyer that fired the first American shots in World War II. (Elizabeth McLaughlin) http://abcn.ws/2k6EGZV
  • President Trump plans to release his long-promised infrastructure proposal in early January, according to Bloomberg. https://bloom.bg/2Amg9uU
  • The Hill reports that Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, in keeping with tradition, plans to ride horseback alongside his wife to cast his ballot in his Dec. 12 special election against Democrat Doug Jones. http://bit.ly/2AmP0rL
  • The Note is a daily ABC News feature that highlights the key political moments of the day ahead. Please check back Monday for the latest.

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