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nounced his de­ci­sion in a sub­dued Se­nate cham­ber three weeks af­ter the first ac­cu­sa­tions of sex­ual mis­con­duct emerged but just a day af­ter most of his Demo­cratic col­leagues pro­claimed he had to go. His re­marks un­der­scored the bit­ter­ness many in the party feel to­ward a GOP that they say has made a po­lit­i­cal cal­cu­la­tion to tol­er­ate Trump and Alabama GOP Se­nate can­di­date Roy Moore, who’ve both been ac­cused of sex­ual as­saults that they’ve de­nied.

On a 2005 au­dio tape re­leased shortly be­fore last year’s pres­i­den­tial elec­tion, Trump is heard talk­ing about grab­bing women, and sev­eral women ac­cused him of sex­ual as­saults. Women in Alabama have ac­cused Moore of un­wanted sex­ual con­tact and pur­su­ing ro­man­tic re­la­tion­ships when they were teenagers and he was in 1970s.

Asked about Franken’s com­ment about him on Thurs­day, Trump merely replied, “I didn’t hear it, sorry.”

Demo­cratic Min­nesota Gov. Mark Day­ton will name a tem­po­rary Franken suc­ces­sor, who will serve un­til a spe­cial elec­tion next Novem­ber. His lieu­tenant gov­er­nor, Tina Smith, has been most fre­quently men­tioned for the tem­po­rary ap­point­ment.

Franken’s de­par­ture is a headache for Democrats, ex­pos­ing an­other seat in a midterm elec­tion that al­ready had them de­fend­ing two dozen in­cum­bents.

Re­pub­li­cans are ea­ger to re­cap­ture a seat that Franken won in 2008 by a tiny mar­gin and only af­ter a month­s­long re­count. They’re also hop­ing the sex­ual ha­rass­ment scan­dal that en­gulfed Franken will sad­dle Democrats with enough bag­gage to help Re­pub­li­cans break through in 2018.







won statewide in Min­nesota since Tim Paw­lenty won a sec­ond term as gov­er­nor in 2006. But GOP op­er­a­tives see a pos­i­tive sign in Trump’s nar­row loss in 2016 — by just 1.5 per­cent­age points — in a state that hasn’t gone Re­pub­li­can in the pres­i­den­tial race in gen­er­a­tions.

Franken’s exit, which he said would oc­cur in “com­ing weeks,” made him the lat­est fig­ure from pol­i­tics, jour­nal­ism and the arts to be top­pled since Oc­to­ber. That’s when the first ar­ti­cles ap­peared re­veal­ing sex­ual abuse al­le­ga­tions against Hol­ly­wood ti­tan Har­vey We­in­stein and en­er­giz­ing the #MeToo move­ment in which women have named men they say abused or ha­rassed them.

Franken’s com­ments ap­pended a melan­choly coda to the po­lit­i­cal ca­reer of the one-time TV fun­ny­man who be­came one of his party’s most pop­u­lar and bel­li­cose lib­er­als.

Just two days ear­lier, John Cony­ers, D-Detroit, a Rep.

civil rights hero who’d been the House’s long­est-serv­ing cur­rent mem­ber, re­signed af­ter fac­ing sex­ual ha­rass­ment al­le­ga­tions of his own.

The two de­par­tures un­der­scored the party’s de­ter­mi­na­tion to show no tol­er­ance for such be­hav­ior, a strat­egy that can bring stun­ningly fast con­clu­sions to po­lit­i­cal ca­reers but that party lead­ers be­lieve could give them high moral ground on a sub­ject that’s shown no sign of fad­ing.

At least eight women had ac­cused Franken of in­ap­pro­pri­ate sex­ual be­hav­ior. Un­til this week, he’d said he’d re­main in the Se­nate and co­op­er­ate with an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into his be­hav­ior.

Franks, mean­while, an eight­term law­maker, staunch con­ser­va­tive and fierce op­po­nent of abor­tion, said in a state­ment that he never phys­i­cally in­tim­i­dated, co­erced or at­tempted to have any sex­ual con­tact with any mem­ber of his con­gres­sional staff.

In­stead, he says, the dis­pute re­sulted from a dis­cus­sion of sur-

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