On Thursday, Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) released a statement apologizing for his behavior during a 2006 USO tour in which he posed for a photo while groping a woman's breasts:

“I respect women. I don't respect men who don't. And the fact that my own actions have given people a good reason to doubt that makes me feel ashamed,” Franken said.

Franken's comments followed former model Leeann Tweeden's explosive account of Franken, before he was a U.S. senator, groping her and giving her an unwanted kiss during a rehearsal for one of their joint performances.


“I don't know what was in my head when I took that picture, and it doesn't matter: There's no excuse,” Franken said before explaining that he felt “disgusted with” himself.

As in his earlier statement, Franken said he didn't recall the unwanted kiss. “While I don't remember the rehearsal for the skit as Leann does, I understand why we need to listen to and believe women's experiences,” he said.

Both Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) pushed the Senate Ethics Committee to investigate Franken's conduct.

In his statement, Franken welcomed an ethics investigation. “I am asking that an ethics investigation be undertaken, and I will gladly cooperate.”

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