Klobuchar: Franken's resignation was 'the best thing to do at that time'
10:49 - Source: CNN

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Sen. Amy Klobuchar represents Minnesota in the Senate with Al Franken

She said she spoke with him privately about his decision

Washington CNN  — 

Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who serves in the Senate representing Minnesota with Al Franken, explained Friday that she didn’t publicly ask Franken to resign this week because of their relationship.

“I had condemned his conduct early on when the first allegation was made,” she told CNN’s Dana Bash on “Inside Politics.” “I felt I was in a different role as his colleague, that I’m someone that has worked with him for a long time, there’s a lot of trust there, and I felt it was best to handle it in that way.”

In a coordinated effort, female Democratic senators called for Franken’s resignation in rapid fire Wednesday. Klobuchar did not join in that effort and said in a statement at the time that she spoke with him privately. By Wednesday evening, more than two dozen senators – including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer – had called for Franken’s resignation.

“I talked to him about the fact that you had reached the situation with the mounting allegations and the fact that there was an ethics investigation going on,” Klobuchar told CNN Friday.

Franken announced Thursday he is resigning “in the coming weeks,” following allegations that he touched women inappropriately, he announced on the Senate floor.

“I am announcing that in the coming weeks I will be resigning as a member of the United States Senate,” Franken said in an emotional address in which he said some of the allegations against him weren’t true.

When asked Friday about Franken’s non-apology, Klobuchar compared Franken’s handling of the accusations to that of Roy Moore, the GOP nominee for a US Senate seat in Alabama. He faces faces accusations that he pursued relationships with teenagers, molested a 14 year old, and sexually assaulted a 16 year old when he was in his 30s.

“You have someone running in Alabama and I think this was his point, who is still on the ballot,” she said of Moore and then referenced President Donald Trump, who was repeatedly accused of sexual assault during his presidential campaign. “You have a President that is down there telling people to vote for someone where there is to me irrefutable written evidence that he was preying on underage girls.”

When asked about the ramifications of Franken’s decision to resign, which Bash said was “under duress” – and Klobuchar agreed – the senator said it’s “not about just toppling men.”

“This is about guaranteeing we will have better workplaces where people treat each other fairly,” she responded. “And there is a lot of good men in the workplace. You know some of them. I think the key here will be due process.”

This story has been updated with additional comment from Klobuchar.