In our news wrap Thursday, Sen. Al Franken is resigning in the face of sexual misconduct allegations, after dozens of colleagues from his own party demanded the Minnesota Democrat step down. He insisted some of the allegations are false. Also, there's word that Rep. Trent Franks is also resigning amid reports that he also faces allegations of sexual misconduct.
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In the day’s other news, Senator Al Franken announced he’s resigning in the face of sexual misconduct allegations. Dozens of colleagues from his own party demanded the Minnesota Democrat step down after seven women accused him of unwanted advances.
Today, Franken insisted some of the allegations are false, but he said he can no longer be effective.
Sen. Al Franken:
I, of all people, am aware that there is some irony in the fact that I am leaving, while a man who has bragged on tape about his history of sexual assault sits in the Oval Office and a man who has repeatedly preyed on young girls campaigns for the Senate with the full support of his party.
But this decision is not about me. It’s about the people of Minnesota.
Minnesota’s governor, a Democrat, will name a temporary successor until voters elect a new senator in 2018.
There’s word this evening that Republican Congressman Trent Franks is also resigning. It comes amid reports that he, too, faces allegations of sexual misconduct. Franks has represented an Arizona district in Congress since 2003.
FBI Director Christopher Wray defended his agency today against attacks by the man who appointed him, President Trump.
Over the weekend, Mr. Trump charged that the bureau’s reputation is in tatters because of the way it has handled the investigation of Russian meddling in the election.
Today, Wray answered the criticism at a hearing of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee.
There is no finer institution than the FBI, and no finer people than the men and women who work there and are its very beating heart.
The FBI that I see is people, decent people, committed to the highest principles of integrity, and professionalism, and respect.
Committee Democrats urged Wray to push back against the president. Republicans criticized the Russia investigation, and said members of the special counsel’s team are biased against Mr. Trump.
A white former police officer who killed a unarmed black man in South Carolina is going to prison for 20 years. Michael Slager was sentenced today in federal court. He pleaded guilty to violating Walter Scott’s civil rights when he shot Scott in the back in North Charleston in 2015. Last year, a state court jury deadlocked on murder charges.
A federal judge in Michigan has sentenced former sports doctor Larry Nassar to 60 years in prison for possession of child pornography. He worked at Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics. Nassar has also pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting teenage gymnasts. He will be sentenced in those cases next month.
In the Middle East, Palestinian protesters staged demonstrations across the West Bank against President Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Palestinian officials say dozens were injured in clashes with Israeli troops.
In Jerusalem, Israelis and Palestinians took sharply different views of the protests and the president.
First of all, we are here in our capital. Second, because my grandmother and the grandmother for my grandmother, she is here. We are here to speak. This is our capital.
It’s been long coming. Jerusalem is de facto been our capital for many, many years, and we’re happy to have the recognition from the United States, finally.
The Palestinian Authority urged the U.N. Security Council to take action when it meets tomorrow. Leaders of the militant group Hamas called for a new armed uprising.
Supporters of same-sex marriage celebrated in Australia today after parliament voted to legalize the unions. Lawmakers cheered the passage of a bill that changed the definition of marriage to a union of two people. Spectators sang and clapped from the balcony. The new policy takes effect on Saturday.
Back in this country, the U.S. House voted to fund the federal government through December 22. And the Senate moved to do the same. The temporary measure also includes money for a popular children’s health insurance program.
Meanwhile, President Trump met with Republican and Democratic congressional leaders to discuss a longer-term funding bill. Both sides voiced hope of making progress.
In economic news, General Electric’s power division announced it will cut 12,000 jobs over the next two years, mostly outside the U.S. The company says it’s adjusting to rising demand for alternative energy over coal and other fossil fuels.
And on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average gained 70 points to close at 24,211. The Nasdaq rose 36 points, and the S&P 500 picked up seven.