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Arizona GOP Rep. Trent Franks to resign following sexual harassment claim

Arizona Republican Rep. Trent Franks announced in a statement Thursday night he will resign from Congress at the end ...

Posted: Dec 8, 2017 12:33 PM
Updated: Dec 8, 2017 12:33 PM

Arizona Republican Rep. Trent Franks announced in a statement Thursday night he will resign from Congress at the end of January, after the House Ethics Committee said it would investigate allegations against him of sexual harassment.

The House Ethics Committee announced earlier Thursday that it will investigate Franks to determine if he engaged in "conduct that constitutes sexual harassment and/or retaliation for opposing sexual harassment."

Rep. Trent Franks is a Phoenix area congressman who is anti-abortion rights

He supports President Donald Trump and opposed GOP Sen. Jeff Flake

In his statement, Franks acknowledged he made staffers "uncomfortable" and that he discussed fertility issues and surrogacy with two female staffers, but denied having ever "physically intimidated, coerced, or had, or attempted to have, any sexual contact with any member of my congressional staff."

"But in the midst of this current cultural and media climate, I am deeply convinced I would be unable to complete a fair House Ethics investigation before distorted and sensationalized versions of this story would put me, my family, my staff, and my noble colleagues in the House of Representatives through hyperbolized public excoriation," Franks said in his statement. "Rather than allow a sensationalized trial by media damage those things I love most, this morning I notified House leadership that I will be leaving Congress as of January 31st, 2018."

House Speaker Paul Ryan's office released a statement saying that Ryan was briefed on "credible claims of misconduct" last week and that Franks did not deny the allegations when he was confronted with them. The Wisconsin Republican said he accepted the letter of resignation Thursday.

Franks' resignation would create a vacancy in Arizona at the end of January, which per Arizona law, would mean Republican Gov. Doug Ducey would have to call an election with a primary in late April or early May and a late June date for the general election.

Franks' announcement came hours after Sen. Al Franken, a Minnesota Democrat, announced he would step down in the wake of allegations about inappropriately touching women and two days after Michigan Democratic Rep. John Conyers announced he was resigning as allegations about his past sexual misconduct increased.

READ: Rep. Trent Franks statement on leaving Congress

Franks, an eight-term congressman, is the first Republican to announce his resignation since the nationwide reckoning over sexual harassment and assault began this fall.

On Thursday evening, a group of conservative House Republicans gathered around Franks on the floor and prayed with him.

Franks, a self-styled "conservative, Reagan Republican," joined Congress in the early 2000s and has hewed conservative on a range of issues in his time there, with a particular focus on anti-abortion issues.

Until his statement on Thursday, Franks appeared to be headed for re-election, and according to the Federal Election Commission, he raised more than $100,000 through the end of September for the 2018 cycle.

Franks' northwest Phoenix suburb is reliably Republican, having gone to Trump and 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, both of whom won the district by more than 20 percentage points, and Franks easily won re-election last year.

"Congress should be held to the highest ethical standard," said National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Steve Stivers. "Trent Franks did the right thing in stepping aside."

He supported President Donald Trump last year, even in the wake of the "Access Hollywood" tape, by saying Trump's words, while bad, did not compare to Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's support of abortion rights.

Franks was involved in Trump's efforts to oust Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake before Flake announced his retirement. Franks, state Treasurer Jeff DeWit and former state GOP Chairman Robert Graham huddled privately backstage with Trump before the President's raucous Phoenix rally earlier this year.

Franks sits on the House Judiciary Committee and the House Armed Services Committee.

Franks drew national ire in 2013 when he said, "Incidents of rape resulting in pregnancy are very low" -- a remark he later said was taken out of context.

This story has updated and will continue to update with additional developments.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 947918

Reported Deaths: 15377
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1291181990
Lake635721103
Allen53899761
Hamilton44082449
St. Joseph42122590
Elkhart33803491
Vanderburgh30574449
Tippecanoe26915251
Johnson23727418
Hendricks22410342
Porter21832347
Clark17562231
Madison17492385
Vigo16302285
Monroe14545191
LaPorte14389239
Delaware14183222
Howard13971273
Kosciusko11498135
Hancock10935166
Warrick10737178
Bartholomew10635170
Floyd10514208
Wayne10077226
Grant9213204
Morgan8928160
Boone8463111
Dubois7791123
Dearborn769490
Henry7691133
Noble7466101
Marshall7409128
Cass7219118
Lawrence7026153
Shelby6647111
Jackson661386
Gibson6190107
Harrison609386
Huntington604495
Montgomery5853105
DeKalb581091
Knox5535104
Miami548888
Putnam543268
Clinton537465
Whitley529354
Steuben501768
Wabash488692
Jasper483861
Jefferson474492
Ripley457777
Adams446068
Daviess4231108
Scott409165
Clay394957
White393858
Greene393392
Wells389884
Decatur388797
Fayette378578
Posey362341
Jennings356056
Washington334747
LaGrange325175
Spencer321136
Fountain318455
Randolph317190
Sullivan309449
Owen287064
Starke282864
Fulton280454
Orange277859
Jay257038
Perry254152
Carroll245229
Franklin242838
Rush237030
Vermillion235050
Parke221420
Tipton212055
Pike211740
Blackford170534
Pulaski168551
Crawford147318
Newton145845
Benton143916
Brown135846
Martin130217
Switzerland126910
Warren115616
Union98511
Ohio80511
Unassigned0482

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1385749

Reported Deaths: 21820
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1538881574
Cuyahoga1358332341
Hamilton987081326
Montgomery679671161
Summit568451051
Lucas51531869
Butler48000663
Stark42232983
Lorain32046539
Warren30404338
Mahoning27463643
Clermont25990297
Lake24809422
Delaware22566147
Licking20767246
Fairfield20730223
Greene20611275
Trumbull20257516
Medina20074290
Clark18170332
Richland16680236
Portage16389231
Wood15926209
Allen14333261
Miami14018261
Muskingum12927155
Wayne12185244
Columbiana11980242
Tuscarawas11204271
Marion10908150
Pickaway10606129
Scioto10531127
Erie9864171
Ross9612177
Lawrence8934125
Hancock8603143
Ashtabula8474187
Geauga8251156
Belmont8236188
Jefferson7691175
Huron7537131
Union742651
Washington7380126
Athens709365
Sandusky6963135
Darke6875137
Knox6812122
Seneca6519137
Ashland6051115
Auglaize595388
Shelby5820104
Brown575372
Mercer565190
Defiance5564101
Crawford5563117
Madison551071
Highland549282
Fulton542583
Clinton533781
Logan518687
Preble5102111
Putnam4900107
Guernsey484364
Williams468982
Perry462254
Champaign454264
Ottawa442484
Jackson434563
Pike398345
Morrow396451
Coshocton391969
Fayette383753
Adams369275
Hardin366170
Gallia355458
Holmes3321111
Henry329869
Van Wert320771
Hocking310770
Wyandot285458
Carroll266352
Paulding246443
Meigs221742
Monroe192749
Noble174142
Morgan170029
Harrison160741
Vinton141319
Unassigned05
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