Gillibrand Won't Say Whether Franken Should Resign, but She's 'Very Personally Disappointed'

November 19, 2017

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D., N.Y.) would not say Sunday whether she felt her colleague Al Franken should resign from the Senate, and she also wouldn't say what bar someone would have to meet to step down.

Gillibrand made headlines last week when she said Bill Clinton should have resigned the presidency over his affair with Monica Lewinsky, but she was less forthcoming on Franken. The Minnesota Democrat has apologized after Leeann Tweeden said he aggressively kissed her without permission in 2006; she also released a photograph of him touching her breasts and smiling for the camera while she slept.

Asked directly whether Franken should step down by MSNBC's Kasie Hunt, Gillibrand didn't answer but did say she was "really disturbed" and "very personally disappointed."

"I think the appropriate thing right now is to have an ethics investigation," she said.

"What could possibly come out of that investigation?" Hunt asked. "It seems as though most of the facts here are pretty clear."

"It's important to have the ethics investigation to not only establish the facts, but to have a process," Gillibrand said.

"To find out what? To what end?" Hunt asked.

Gillibrand said cases should be looked at individually, hence her support for an ethics investigation into Franken, but she also wanted to have a "full conversation" about sexual harassment in Congress.

"What do you think is the bar for somebody to have to resign their seat?" Hunt asked.

"I don't know, Kasie," Gillibrand said. "People will make their own judgments."

She went on to say Congress was "failing" to address the problem and laid out difficulties in processing such complaints on Capitol Hill.