November 22, 2017 10:17 PM
U.S. Senator Al Franken remains in seclusion six days after allegations of sexual harassment against the Minnesota Democrat first surfaced.
Sources tell 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS that he is continuing to discuss with aides, advisors and friends what he should do next.
Meanwhile, two more women stepped forward anonymously with accusations Wednesday night in a Huffington Post story, alleging the Senator touched their buttocks.
One alleged he suggested joining her in the restroom, a claim Franken said was false.
"It's difficult to respond to anonymous accusers, and I don't remember those campaign events," Franken said in a statement. "But I can categorically say that I did not proposition anyone to join me in any bathroom."
A KSTP/SurveyUSA poll taken before Wednesday's latest allegations indicates only 22 percent of people surveyed say Franken should remain in office "based on what they know now." Another 33 percent say he should resign now, and 36 percent say he should wait until after a Senate Ethics Committee investigation.
If he remains in office, political analysts said it's hard to say how effective he could be.
"I think from the perspective of Senator Franken, as he works through this decision, it's again about how can you be effective or not effective," former DFL Party chair Mike Erlandson said. "And we saw that with the two legislators in Minnesota (was) both making the determination they could not be effective members of the legislature."
Erlandson was referring to DFL State Sen. Dan Schoen and Republican State Rep. Tony Cornish, who both resigned this week after facing sexual harassment charges.
Our new poll also indicated only 32 percent of Minnesotans say Franken could be an "effective" senator after the allegations.
"And that's part of the problem when you have an ongoing ethics investigation...it's like a cloud that hangs over your head," said Annette Meeks of the Freedom Foundation.
Meeks worked on Capitol Hill for 14 years.
"These things aren't over in a month," she said of ethics investigations. "Sometimes it takes years, and to have that ethical cloud hanging over your head really renders you ineffective, and frankly a disservice to your party because you bring everybody down with you."
Franken's office released a statement regarding the poll findings.
"I know that I've let down and disappointed a lot of people," it read. "I'm committed to regaining your trust."
Meeks and Erlandson will appear on At Issue at 10 a.m. Sunday to discuss the allegations against Franken.
Updated: November 22, 2017 10:17 PM
Created: November 22, 2017 06:18 PM
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