al franken accuser leeann tweeden senate committee outside investigation sot lead_00001726.jpg
PHOTO: CNN
al franken accuser leeann tweeden senate committee outside investigation sot lead_00001726.jpg
Now playing
01:39
Franken accuser: Ethics committee not enough
CANNES, FRANCE - MAY 26: Actress Asia Argento attends the 'Zulu' Premiere and Closing Ceremony during the 66th Annual Cannes Film Festival at the Palais des Festivals on May 26, 2013 in Cannes, France. (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)

LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 21: Actor Jimmy Bennett arrives at the premiere of Relativity Media's '21 And Over' at the Village Theatre on February 21, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
PHOTO: Getty Images
CANNES, FRANCE - MAY 26: Actress Asia Argento attends the 'Zulu' Premiere and Closing Ceremony during the 66th Annual Cannes Film Festival at the Palais des Festivals on May 26, 2013 in Cannes, France. (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images) LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 21: Actor Jimmy Bennett arrives at the premiere of Relativity Media's '21 And Over' at the Village Theatre on February 21, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
Now playing
02:30
Asia Argento reportedly paid assault accuser
PHOTO: NBC's "Megyn Kelly Today"
Now playing
01:35
McGowan to Weinstein: We got you
PHOTO: Mike Windle/Getty Images for Venice Family Clinic
Now playing
07:46
New Yorker: 6 women accuse CBS CEO of sexual harassment
PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 09:  Chris Hardwick attends the 2018 NBCUniversal Winter Press Tour at The Langham Huntington, Pasadena on January 9, 2018 in Pasadena, California.  (Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images)
PHOTO: Christopher Polk/Getty Images
PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 09: Chris Hardwick attends the 2018 NBCUniversal Winter Press Tour at The Langham Huntington, Pasadena on January 9, 2018 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images)
Now playing
00:50
TV host returning after abuse allegations
PHOTO: NBC/"Today"
Now playing
01:17
Robin Wright on Kevin Spacey: We were saddened
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 13:  Executive producer/actor Kevin Spacey arrives at the special screening of Netflix's "House of Cards" Season 2 at the Directors Guild Of America on February 13, 2014 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
PHOTO: Kevin Winter/Getty Images
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 13: Executive producer/actor Kevin Spacey arrives at the special screening of Netflix's "House of Cards" Season 2 at the Directors Guild Of America on February 13, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
Now playing
01:27
The sexual assault claims against Kevin Spacey
PHOTO: CSPAN
Now playing
01:55
Actor on sexual assault: He held the power
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 20:  Chef Mario Batali arrives at EAT (RED) Food & Film Fest! at Bryant Park on June 20, 2017 in New York City.  (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for (Red))
PHOTO: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images North America/Getty Images for (Red)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 20: Chef Mario Batali arrives at EAT (RED) Food & Film Fest! at Bryant Park on June 20, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for (Red))
Now playing
02:45
NYPD investigating Mario Batali for sexual misconduct
PHOTO: Mike Coppola/Getty Images
Now playing
00:49
Tom Brokaw facing sexual harassment allegations
LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 16:  Actress Bella Thorne attends the Babes for Boobs Bachelor Auction benefitting the Los Angeles County Affiliate of Susan G. Komen on June 16, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for Babes For Boobs)
PHOTO: Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images North America/Getty Images for Babes For Boobs
LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 16: Actress Bella Thorne attends the Babes for Boobs Bachelor Auction benefitting the Los Angeles County Affiliate of Susan G. Komen on June 16, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for Babes For Boobs)
Now playing
00:54
Former Disney actress reveals sexual abuse
ZURICH, SWITZERLAND - SEPTEMBER 22:  Harvey Weinstein attends the 'Lion' premiere and opening ceremony of the 12th Zurich Film Festival at Kino Corso on September 22, 2016 in Zurich, Switzerland. The Zurich Film Festival 2016 will take place from September 22 until October 2.  (Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images)
PHOTO: Andreas Rentz/Getty Images
ZURICH, SWITZERLAND - SEPTEMBER 22: Harvey Weinstein attends the 'Lion' premiere and opening ceremony of the 12th Zurich Film Festival at Kino Corso on September 22, 2016 in Zurich, Switzerland. The Zurich Film Festival 2016 will take place from September 22 until October 2. (Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images)
Now playing
01:10
Weinstein empire unravels amid scandal (2017)
PHOTO: CNN
Now playing
03:21
Japan accused of failing sexual abuse survivors
Former Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar listens during the sentencing phase in Eaton, County Circuit Court on January 31, 2018 in Charlotte, Michigan. Last week Nassar was sentenced in Ingham County to 40 years to 175 years in prison.
The number of identified sexual abuse victims of former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar has grown to 265, a Michigan judge announced Wednesday as a final sentencing hearing commenced. Prosecutors said at least 65 victims were to confront Nassar in court, in the last of three sentencing hearings for the disgraced doctor who molested young girls and women for two decades in the guise of medical treatment.
 / AFP PHOTO / JEFF KOWALSKY        (Photo credit should read JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP/Getty Images)
PHOTO: JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
Former Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar listens during the sentencing phase in Eaton, County Circuit Court on January 31, 2018 in Charlotte, Michigan. Last week Nassar was sentenced in Ingham County to 40 years to 175 years in prison. The number of identified sexual abuse victims of former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar has grown to 265, a Michigan judge announced Wednesday as a final sentencing hearing commenced. Prosecutors said at least 65 victims were to confront Nassar in court, in the last of three sentencing hearings for the disgraced doctor who molested young girls and women for two decades in the guise of medical treatment. / AFP PHOTO / JEFF KOWALSKY (Photo credit should read JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP/Getty Images)
Now playing
01:58
Nassar survivor: 'Have fun in prison'
allegations against Al Franken orig me_00000000.jpg
allegations against Al Franken orig me_00000000.jpg
Now playing
02:34
The allegations against Al Franken (2017)
TODAY -- Pictured: Matt Lauer on Friday, June 30, 2017 -- (Photo by: Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
PHOTO: Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images
TODAY -- Pictured: Matt Lauer on Friday, June 30, 2017 -- (Photo by: Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
Now playing
01:15
Matt Lauer fired from NBC News
(CNN) —  

Democrats and allied liberal groups are on the defensive – and cautiously weighing their next steps – amid revelations of sexual harassment and assault by Minnesota Sen. Al Franken.

On Thursday morning, the broadcaster and former model Leeann Tweeden said in an account posted to the 790 KABC website that Franken had forcibly kissed and later groped her, while she was asleep, during a USO Tour overseas in 2006.

“I couldn’t believe it. He groped me, without my consent, while I was asleep,” Tweeden wrote. “I felt violated all over again. Embarrassed. Belittled. Humiliated.”

The story included an image that shows Franken reaching for Tweeden’s breasts as she slept, wearing a flak vest and Kevlar helmet.

PHOTO: from KABC/Leeann Tweeden

“I certainly don’t remember the rehearsal for the skit (in which Tweeden said Franken kissed her) in the same way, but I send my sincerest apologies to Leeann,” Franken said on Thursday, before releasing a longer statement. “As to the photo, it was clearly intended to be funny but wasn’t. I shouldn’t have done it.”

News of the report was jarring to progressive groups who count Franken, the former “Saturday Night Live” star and bestselling author, as one of their most popular draws and a potential presidential or vice presidential candidate in 2020. He was applauded by liberals during the Trump administration’s confirmation hearings for taking a harder line than some of his colleagues with Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. The revelations also diverted attention from the sexual abuse scandal facing Republicans: Senate candidate Roy Moore of Alabama is accused of making advances on teenagers when he was in his thirties.

The progressive group MoveOn.org on Thursday called the report about Franken “deeply disturbing.”

02:16 - Source: CNN
Trump slams probe 'hoax' despite intel warning
President Donald Trump speaks during a rally, Thursday, Aug. 2, 2018, at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza in Wilkes Barre, Pa. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
PHOTO: Matt Rourke/AP
President Donald Trump speaks during a rally, Thursday, Aug. 2, 2018, at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza in Wilkes Barre, Pa. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Now playing
02:16
Trump slams probe 'hoax' despite intel warning
MOSCOW, RUSSIA - NOVEMBER 09: Emin Agalarov, Donald Trump and Aras Agalarov attend the red carpet at Miss Universe Pageant Competition 2013 on November 9, 2013 in Moscow, Russia. (Photo by Victor Boyko/Getty Images)
PHOTO: Victor Boyko/Getty Images
MOSCOW, RUSSIA - NOVEMBER 09: Emin Agalarov, Donald Trump and Aras Agalarov attend the red carpet at Miss Universe Pageant Competition 2013 on November 9, 2013 in Moscow, Russia. (Photo by Victor Boyko/Getty Images)
Now playing
02:23
Russian pop star trolls Trump in music video (2018)
Trump WH 5
PHOTO: CNN
Trump WH 5
Now playing
01:31
Trump: It is possible I will meet with Putin
Now playing
01:06
Toobin calls Giuliani claim 'corrupt and unethical'
PHOTO: CNN
Now playing
00:54
Giuliani: Stop the possibility of impeachment
PHOTO: Getty Images
Now playing
03:03
GOP members slam Trump's Russia comments
Now playing
00:10
This video is no longer available
PHOTO: CNN
Now playing
01:38
Giuliani: Trump has right to know FBI source
Now playing
01:21
Trump says 'disgraceful' if FBI spied on campaign
PHOTO: Getty Images
Now playing
01:34
Trump lawyers seek to limit Mueller interview
PHOTO: CNN
Now playing
02:45
Page: Never found anything unusual about FBI source
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 08:  Former FBI Director James Comey testifies before the Senate Intelligence Committee in the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill June 8, 2017 in Washington, DC. Comey said that President Donald Trump pressured him to drop the FBI's investigation into former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and demanded Comey's loyalty during the one-on-one meetings he had with president.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
PHOTO: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 08: Former FBI Director James Comey testifies before the Senate Intelligence Committee in the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill June 8, 2017 in Washington, DC. Comey said that President Donald Trump pressured him to drop the FBI's investigation into former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and demanded Comey's loyalty during the one-on-one meetings he had with president. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Now playing
01:08
Comey: Trump won't criticize Putin, even in private
PHOTO: UNTV
Now playing
02:27
Nikki Haley: I don't get confused
US President Donald Trump (L) chats with Russia's President Vladimir Putin as they attend the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting, part of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders' summit in the central Vietnamese city of Danang on November 11, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / SPUTNIK / Mikhail KLIMENTYEV        (Photo credit should read MIKHAIL KLIMENTYEV/AFP/Getty Images)
PHOTO: MIKHAIL KLIMENTYEV/AFP/Getty Images
US President Donald Trump (L) chats with Russia's President Vladimir Putin as they attend the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting, part of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders' summit in the central Vietnamese city of Danang on November 11, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / SPUTNIK / Mikhail KLIMENTYEV (Photo credit should read MIKHAIL KLIMENTYEV/AFP/Getty Images)
Now playing
02:03
Russia reacts to Trump's Syria strike tweets
US President Donald Trump and Russia's President Vladimir Putin hold a meeting on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany, on July 7, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB        (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
PHOTO: SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images
US President Donald Trump and Russia's President Vladimir Putin hold a meeting on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany, on July 7, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
Now playing
01:26
US hits Putin allies with new sanctions

“Progressives & Democrats must not tolerate sexual harassment or assault,” it said in a tweet. “We must lift up women & others speaking out. @SenFranken should be held to the same standard as anyone in public or private life.”