- Former President Bill Clinton suggested that former Sen. Al Franken, a Minnesota Democrat, should not have been forced from office earlier this year amid mounting sexual misconduct allegations.
- Clinton suggested that the allegations made against Franken lacked credibility and argued that voters should have decided the senator’s fate during his 2018 reelection campaign.
- Clinton made the remarks just days after facing criticism last week for arguing that the relitigation of his affair with Monica Lewinsky was unfair.
Former President Bill Clinton suggested that former Sen. Al Franken, a Minnesota Democrat, should not have been forced from office earlier this year amid mounting sexual misconduct allegations.
Clinton made the remarks just days after facing criticism for arguing that the relitigation of his affair with Monica Lewinsky was unfair and in part a result of frustration about the multiple allegations of sexual misconduct President Donald Trump faces.
In an interview with PBS “NewsHour” that aired last Friday, Clinton said he’s pleased that American society appears to be raising its standards for workplace conduct.
“I think it’s a good thing that we should all have higher standards,” Clinton said. “I think the norms have really changed in terms of what you can do to somebody against their will, how much you can crowd their space, make them miserable at work.”
But when asked specifically about Franken’s ouster, he appeared to make an exception. He suggested that the allegations against Franken, which included nonconsensual kissing and groping, lacked credibility.
“I will be honest, the Franken case, for me, was a difficult case, a hard case,” Clinton said. “There may be things I don’t know. But I – maybe I’m just an old-fashioned person, but it seemed to me that there were 29 women on ‘Saturday Night Live’ that put out a statement for him, and that the first and most fantastic story was called, I believe, into question.”
It is unclear which allegation Clinton believed had been called into question.
The former president said Franken’s fate should have been decided by voters during his 2018 reelection bid, rather than by Senate Democrats, nearly all of whom publicly called on Franken to resign last December.
“I think it’s a grievous thing to take away from the people a decision they have made, especially with his election coming up again,” Clinton said. “But it’s done now. And I think that all of us should just be focusing on how to do better and how to go forward.”
Clinton’s apparent defence of Franken drew a new round of criticism.
"Norms have changed about what you can do to someone against their will" is a hell of a sentiment https://t.co/wjOwGsxiTo
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) June 11, 2018
In a “Today” show interview, Clinton defended his decision to remain in office after being impeached for lying under oath about the Lewinsky affair.
“A lot of the facts have been conveniently omitted to make the story work,” Clinton said. “I think partly because they’re frustrated that they got all these serious allegations against the current occupant of the Oval Office and his voters don’t seem to care. I think I did the right thing. I defended the Constitution.”