Speed Reads

franken files

McConnell calls for ethics review of Al Franken after groping allegations

On Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) responded to sexual assault allegations against Democratic Sen. Al Franken (Minn.) by asking the chamber's Ethics Committee to investigate Franken's conduct. Los Angeles-area reporter Leeann Tweeden earlier Thursday accused Franken of kissing her without her consent and groping her while she was asleep during a USO tour in 2006.

"As with all credible allegations of sexual harassment or assault, I believe the Ethics Committee should review the matter," McConnell said. In addition to Tweeden's written account of Franken's conduct, she provided a photo that shows the then-comedian groping her breasts while she was asleep on a cargo plane, still donning her flak vest and helmet.

McConnell added that he hoped Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) would support the effort to review Franken's conduct. In a statement, Franken said that he "certainly" didn't remember Tweeden's account of the unwanted kiss "in the same way," but offered her his "sincerest apologies." Regarding the photo, he said: "It was clearly intended to be funny but wasn't. I shouldn't have done it."

McConnell has also called for repercussions for members of his own party who have been accused of sexual misconduct: Regarding Roy Moore, the Republican candidate for Senate in Alabama who stands accused by nine women of inappropriate behavior including attempted sexual assault, McConnell said he believed the women's accounts and that Moore should "step aside" from the race. On Thursday, he said: "Regardless of party, harassment and assault are completely unacceptable — in the workplace or anywhere else."