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Franken to leave Senate on January 2

Minnesota Democratic Sen. Al Franken, who announced ...

Posted: Dec 21, 2017 12:30 AM
Updated: Dec 21, 2017 12:30 AM

Minnesota Democratic Sen. Al Franken, who announced plans earlier this month to resign his seat, said Wednesday he is leaving the US Senate "in a few weeks."

"When I leave the Senate in a few weeks," Franken said during a speech on the Senate floor, "I will continue trying to be an educated citizen and an advocate and an activist."

Sen. Al Franken said he plans to give speeches before he leaves Congress

The Minnesota Democrat has been accused of touching women inappropriately

Franken, however, has still not given a specific date for when he will resign.

The senator said he has learned a lot over the last eight and half years in his position and gained new perspective on issues and how decisions are made in Washington. Franken added he will continue to give a series of speeches before he leaves.

"Before I go, I want to spend some time sharing what I have learned in a series of speeches focusing on the challenges I came to Washington to address, the challenges that my colleagues will continue to wrestle with, challenges that will determine not just what kind of political landscape we leave for the next generation of senators but what kind of country we leave for the next generation of Americans," he said.

Following his announcement that he would resign from Congress, two Democratic senators said that Franken should not have stepped down before the Senate Ethics Committee had completed its investigation into the Minnesota Democrat. However, many of the Democratic senators who had previously called on Franken to resign said earlier this week that they stood by those calls and had not changed their mind.

RELATED: Woman says Franken inappropriately touched her in 2010

Franken has been accused by multiple women of touching them inappropriately. Franken apologized for some of the accusations but in his resignation speech said that his response to those women's accounts "gave some people the false impression that I was admitting to doing things that in fact I haven't done."

"Some of the allegations against me are simply not true," he said on the Senate floor December 7. "Others I remember very differently."

Franken's comments Tuesday that he would resign in "a few weeks" is consistent with the comments he made in his initial resignation, and its unspecific timeline had led some to wonder when he would officially leave the chamber. When asked about the exact departure date, a Democratic leadership aide told CNN last week that Franken is just winding down his office and helping his staff arrange for new jobs.

Democratic Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton has appointed Lt. Gov. Tina Smith to fill Franken's seat in the immediate future, and a special election will be held in the state to permanently fill the seat timed to next year's midterm elections in November. Smith has said she'll run for that position.

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