Klobuchar Said Allegations Made it Too Hard for Franken to Stay in Senate

December 07, 2017 05:20 PM

Senator Amy Klobuchar said she didn't publicly call for Al Franken to resign because she wanted to give her fellow Democrat and Minnesota Senate colleague the chance to reach that decision on his own.

But Klobuchar said she spoke with Franken Wednesday, when the latest of the multiple allegations of sexual harassment against him became public, and stressed it would be hard for him to continue in his position.

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RELATED: Franken Resigns: Feels Work as Senator has 'Improved People's Lives'

"We just talked about how hard it was going to be for him to continue to serve," Klobuchar told KSTP's Tom Hauser Thursday, following Franken's resignation announcement on the Senate floor.

"His response was that he needed to talk to his family - (his wife) Franni - and I truly respected that."

But Klobuchar said Franken called her Thursday morning to tell her he had reached a final decision.

RELATED: Franken's Senate Career Begins, Ends in Spotlight

Klobuchar said that while she condemned the alleged conduct right away, she avoided too much public criticism of Franken because she wanted to weigh the evidence.

"I'm a prosecutor," she said. "I like to look at the evidence. I think you should have investigations of this conduct."

RELATED: Franken's Resignation Triggers a Rush to Replace Him

But she said the number of allegations made it too difficult for Franken to await the results of a Senate Ethics Committee investigation.

"The cases were coming in and they were public," she said. "And while he wanted this to go to the Ethics Committee for that kind of investigation, I think he felt it got to the point where it would have overwhelmed his work as a Senator and he wouldn't be able to effectively do his job."

RELATED: Mixed Reactions Locally to Franken Resignation

Klobuchar refused to weigh in on whom she thought Gov. Mark Dayton should appoint as Franken's successor - a decision Dayton said he will make in the next couple of days.

"It's up to him," she said. "There are a lot of good people he could put in. I'm not going to speculate about who that is."

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