Al Franken to resign from Senate

A chorus of Franken's colleagues called for his resignation Wednesday amid sexual harassment allegations.
16:30 | 12/07/17

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Transcript for Al Franken to resign from Senate
This is an ABC news special room. George Stephanopoulos. Good morning wanted to strengthen the senate floor democratic senator Al Franken responding to calls for his resignation I felt that we had entered an important. Moment in the history of this country. We were finally beginning to listen to women. About the ways in which man's actions. Affecting. The moment was long overdue. I was excited for that conversation and hopeful that. It would result in real change. That made life better for women all across the country. And in every part. Of our society. Then the conversation turned to me. Over the last few weeks a number. Of women have come forward to talk about how they felt my actions. At affected them. I was I was shocked. I was upset. But in responding to their claims I also wanted to be respectful. Of that broader conversation. Because all women deserve to be heard. And their experiences. Taken seriously. I think that was the right thing to do. Russell think. He gave some people a 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. I said at the outset. That the ethics committee was the right venue for these allegations to be heard. And investigated. And evaluated. On their merits. That I was prepared to cooperate fully. And that I was confident in the outcome. You know an important part of the conversation we've been having the last few months. Has been about how men abuse their power. And privilege to hurt women. Oh I am proud. The during my time in the senate I have used. My power. To be a champion of women. And that I've earned a reputation as someone who respects. The women I work alongside. Every day. I know there's been a very different picture of me painted. Over the last few weeks. But I know who I really am. Serving in the United States senate has been the great honor of my life. I know in my heart that. Nothing I have done as a senator. Nothing. Has brought this honor on him. On this institution. And I am confident. That the ethics committee would agree. Nevertheless today I am announcing. That in the coming weeks. I will be resigning as a member of the United States senate. I of all people am aware that there is some irony. In the fact that I am leaving. While a man who is bragged on tape. About his history of sexual assault sits in the gobble up office. And the man who is repeatedly preyed on young girl's. Campaigns for the senate. We'll look with the full support of his party. But this decision is not about me. It's about people of Minnesota. Has become clear that I can't both pursue the ethics committee process and at the same time. Remain an effective senator. For them. Let me be clear. I may be resigning my seat but I am not giving up my voice. I will continue to stand up for the things I believe in as a citizen. And has an activist. Well minnesotans deserve a senator. Who can focus will go all her energy. On addressing the challenges they face. Every day. There is a big part of me that will always regret. Having a walk away from this job with so much work. We'll have to be done. But I have faith. That the work will continue because I have faith. In the people who have helped me do it. I have faith in a dedicated. Funny. Selfless. Brilliant. Young men and women on my staff. They have so much more to contribute to our country. And I hope that as disappointed as they may feel today. Everyone who has worked for me knows how much I admire. And respect. I have faith in my colleagues especially my senior senator. Amy Klobuchar. I would not have been able to do this job without her guidance and wisdom. And I have faith or at least Pope. The members of the senate will find the political courage necessary. To keep asking the tough questions. Hold this administration accountable. And stand up for the truth. I have faith in the activists who organized to help me win my first campaign. And who have kept on organizing to help fight for the people's. Who needed us kids facing bowling. Seniors worried about the price of prescription drugs native Americans. Who have been overlooked for far too long. Working people who've been taking out on the chin for a generation everyone in the middle class and every one aspiring. The joint. I have faith in the proud legacy of progressive. Advocacy that I have had the privilege to be a part of I think I've probably repeated these words. 101000 times over the years. Paul Wellstone is famous quote. The future belongs to those who are passionate. And work hard. It's still true. It won't always be true. And most of all I have faith in Minnesota. The big part of this job is going around the state. And listening to what people need from Washington but more often than not. When I'm home I am blown away. By how much Minnesota has to offer the entire country and the entire world. The people I've had the honor of representing our brilliant and creative and hardworking. And whoever holds a seat next. Or parent the challenge I've. Enjoyed for the last eight and a half years. Being as good as the people you serve. This has been a tough few weeks for me. But I am a very very lucky man. I have a beautiful. Healthy family. And I love. And that loves me very much I'm going to be just part. I dislike and winds. With one last thing. I did not grow up wanting to be a politician. I came to this. Relatively late in life. I had to learn a lot on the fly. It wasn't easy and it wasn't always fun and I'm not just talking about today. This is a hard thing to do. Live your life. There are a lot of long hours. And late nights. And hard lessons. And there is no guarantee you that. All your work and sacrifice will ever pay off. I won my first election by 312. Votes. Could have easily gone the other way. And even when you win. Progress is far from inevitable. Paul Wellstone who spent his whole life. Working for mental health parity. And it didn't pass until six years. After Paul god. This year a lot of people who didn't grow up imagining that they'd ever get involved in politics. Have done just that. They've gone to their first protest march. Are made their first call two member of congress. Or maybe even taken the leap in. But their names on a ballot for the first time. They can be such a rush. The look around there a room of fault people ready to. Fight alongside you. Feel that energy. Imagine a better things are possible. We're used to low experienced setbacks and defeats and disappointments. There'll be days. When you'll wonder whether it's worth it. What I want you to know. Is that even today. Even on the worst day. Of my political life. I feel like it's all been worth it. Politics Paul Wellstone told us. It is about the improvement of people's lives. I know that the work I've been able to do. As improve people's lives. I would do it all over again. In a heartbeat. For a decade now. Every time I ever get tired or discouraged or frustrated I would think about the people I was doing this war. And would get me back up on my feet. I know the same will be true for. Everyone who decides to pursue a politics. That is about improving people's lives. And I hope you know that I will be fighting alongside you. Every step. Of the way. Would that Mr. President. I yield the floor. And we've got the news the democratic senator Al Franken is resigning his seat in the senate in the coming weeks. And and he calls the worst day of his career he said that he is ever brought dishonor. On the senate responded. In some measure to those calls from eight different women who said who accuse him of sexual misconduct in the coming weeks saying that all women deserve to be heard. But saying that he believes. In some of those cases at least of the allegations were not true. In others that he remembers them differently but nevertheless he is resigning because he feels he can not serve the people of Minnesota the people who elected him. While an ethics committee investigates. He also went on in that speech to take call out both. President trump and Republican senate candidate Roy Moore of Alabama who are also facing sexual misconduct allegations denying them. Noting the irony as he steps down they remain. In office want to go to our team right now starting with our senior congressional correspondent Mary Bruce there on Capitol Hill we heard. The senator's explanation right they're somewhat defiant not all that contrite in the statement saying his entire crew would be worth it clearly he wanted to stay. In the centenary but yesterday after another allegation after another accusation from an anonymous. Source it was simply impossible to flood gates open from his democratic senate colleagues. Yet George Franken made it abundantly clear that he does not feel his actions warrant his resignation here today but what was also abundantly clear is that he has lost the support of his colleagues here. Yesterday we saw a tidal wave. Of his fellow Democrats coming out and saying enough is enough that he had to resign he did come after that latest. Allegation those accusations coming out against him it was a handful. Of women senators really driving this coming out in what appeared to be a cool warding needed push. Saying he had to resign and then we saw in less than 24 hours now. At least 39 senators who agreed with that including the democratic leader Chuck Schumer was incredibly close with Al Franken but I spent a very difficult last 24 hours personally pleading with him. To do it he just did here and stepped down. They being our chief White House correspondent John Karl as well as they say John Al Franken calling out. The president there as well the president had been critical of senator Franken on Twitter even as he defends. Roy Morse what you have now is. Both Al Franken in democratic represented him John Conyers resigning setting up a clear contrasts with some Republicans. A clear contrast. And what struck me about listening to senator Franken is he really does not seem to have think that he did anything wrong or anything significantly wrong. But he pointed out what he called the irony that the president in his words has it made it on tape. Two two to committing sexual assaults and and he firmly believes. That dit dit did you know state senate senate candidate Roy Moore. Possibly on his way to the into the US senate is guilty of things far worse than any thing that Franken has admitted to or even been accused of he noted that irony and there is quite a contrast here one significant thing here. Did you might say yes in common is is is is no real admission of doing anything wrong. The president adamantly insists he did nothing wrong called that that Access Hollywood tape. Locker room talk. And Roy Moore is denying now that he did anything wrong in terms of of sexual misconduct towards underage girl. Also our senior national course when Tommy and she began Alabama for the last several weeks covering this campaign this is going to be a changing moment now as this election comes up. On Tuesday as John pointed out why more and present simply actually deny in the face of several women accusers as well and one of the things we've seen is. A shift among the Republican senators they started out saying. Remorse to get out of the race is no way to conserve. Is starting to come around their game he's going to be serving. I think it's to be bigger than the senate this race Daryn Alabama torched just got so much bigger. Because of the Wharton more winds of man who's accused of sexually inappropriate behavior with eight women almost Goldman teenagers. And sexually assaulting two he has denied those allegations. But if he wins the senate race he goes to the US senate and every Republican who's up for election is going to be asked the same question do you stand with Roy Moore. Now this is a very big issue of the new cycle moves so fast right now but this issue was proven not to go away to meet terms all eleven months away. Very likely he will end up in the senate ethics committee word Al Franken now will not. The investigative of the news four today senator Al Franken democratic senator of Minnesota is resigning in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations are coverage. Is going to continue online of course a full report tonight on world news with David Muir and you get the latest breaking news any time. By downloading the ABC news app. Have a good day. This has been a special report. For me peace.

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

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