The TAKE with Rick Klein
The declaration came definitively, if belatedly: #metoo has to mean them, too.
The coordinated push to get Sen. Al Franken to resign reflects a new, cleaner, and more internally aggressive approach by top Democrats to demonstrate accountability in their own ranks.
Until this week, no national political figure faced the fate that an array of entertainment and media figures have met during this extraordinary last few months.
If Franken does what his colleagues are calling for and steps down, the onetime 2020 contender will join the longest-serving House member in vacating their seats this week. Both are Democrats.
Contrast that with the GOP, where Roy Moore now has the support of President Donald Trump, the Republican National Committee, and a still-growing number of Republican senators going into Tuesday’s election in Alabama.
All offenses are not even close to equal. And the latest Democratic pushes out the door may look like an attempt to reclaim moral high ground in a pile of stories where most everybody in power seems tiny.
Still, at this moment that is broader than politics, there’s a growing partisan split in how powerful figures are being held accountable.
The RUNDOWN with MaryAlice Parks
Two months after the shooting massacre in Las Vegas, House Republicans passed a gun bill.
While the bill included language to revamp the national instant background system, the House Republicans’ bill made clear — despite the uptick in deadly mass shootings — they are moving forward on what looks more like an any gun, anytime, anywhere agenda.
The core of the so-called “conceal carry reciprocity” bill would override individual state rights and compel those states with stricter regulations to honor a concealed carry permit issued by any other state.
“We’re a Senate vote away from guns in Times Square on New Years Eve,” New York’s State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman tweeted after the vote passed 231-198.
It was a piece of legislation deemed a top priority of the National Rifle Association and would arguably facilitate the access to and pervasiveness of firearms.
Interestingly in passing this specific bill, Republicans ignored pleas from one of their usual allies. Many local enforcement agencies had lobbied against the legislation.
THE TIP with John Verhovek
What will happen to Senator Al Franken’s seat if he resigns?
Minnesota state law stipulates that in the event of a vacancy in the U.S. Senate, a special election “shall be held at the next November election if the vacancy occurs at least 11 weeks before the regular state primary preceding that election.”
In this case, if Franken were to resign on Thursday or in the coming days, a special election would be held in November 2018 to replace Franken since we are more than 11 weeks out before the regular state primary, which is scheduled for August 14, 2018 in Minnesota.
Before that election, that same state law says that Governor Mark Dayton, a Democrat, “may make a temporary appointment to fill any vacancy” until a permanent successor is elected and sworn in. That elected successor would then serve out the rest of Franken’s term until 2020.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY
Sen. Al Franken is expected to make an announcement today after more than two dozen Democratic senators called on him Wednesday to resign amid multiple allegations of sexual misconduct. Franken will make his announcement from the Senate floor at an as-yet undetermined time today, his spokesman said.
President Trump meets with congressional leaders, including Democrats Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi, at the White House at 3 p.m. ET. He also meets with GOP senators and RNC chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel.
Republican leaders are expected to vote on a bill today to fund the government through December 22 at current levels — a short-term fix to get past Friday’s deadline.
On ABC News’ “Powerhouse Politics” podcast, Jonathan Karl and Rick Klein talk to Corey Lewandowski and Dave Bossie about their new book “Let Trump Be Trump” at 10 a.m. ET.
Deputy Secretary of the State Department John J. Sullivan will testify before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on counterterrorism efforts in Africa at 9:30 a.m. ET.
FBI Director Christopher Wray will address the House Judiciary Committee regarding oversight of the bureau at 10 a.m. ET.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will continue meetings with foreign ministers in Vienna, Austria throughout the morning.
First lady Melania Trump will read a Christmas story to children at the Children’s National Medical Center at 3 p.m. ET. Tonight, the Trumps host a Hanukkah reception at the White House.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“As elected officials, we should be held to the highest standards — not the lowest. The allegations against Sen. Franken describe behavior that cannot be tolerated. While he’s entitled to an Ethics Committee hearing, I believe he should step aside to let someone else serve.” — Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand in a tweet that was followed by more than two dozen similar statements from fellow senators.
NEED TO READ
Franken says no final decision to resign, but Democratic sources expect he will. In a short statement Wednesday night, Sen. Al Franken’s office is denying reports that he has made a final decision to resign his seat, however multiple Democratic sources in Washington and Minnesota told ABC News that in an appearance today he is in fact expected to announce his resignation. (Cecilia Vega, MaryAlice Parks, Benjamin Siegel) http://abcn.ws/2ktzfb8
Franken to make announcement Thursday as chorus grows for his resignation. Sen. Al Franken is set to make an announcement today, according to his office, as more than three dozen senators called on him to resign, including Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, and Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire. (Veronica Stracqualursi and Arlette Saenz) http://abcn.ws/2k0c6Ju
Trump recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in historic move. In a momentous shift of United States foreign policy in the Middle East, President Donald Trump officially recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel Wednesday and initiated the process of relocating the U.S. embassy to the city from Tel Aviv. (Justin Fishel, Adam Kelsey and Jordyn Phelps) http://abcn.ws/2jiiSe1
ANALYSIS: In Jerusalem gamble, Trump may go bust. President Donald Trump summed up his decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in the simplest of terms: “Old challenges demand new approaches.” (Rick Klein) http://abcn.ws/2ktoCoT
Tillerson faces pushback in Europe on Jerusalem. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson faced stern feedback from some of his European counterparts over the Trump administration’s controversial foreign policies like recognizing Jerusalem as the Israeli capital and decertifying the Iran nuclear deal. (Tara Palmeri) http://abcn.ws/2joa1Yz
Trump Jr. spent nearly 8 hours with House Committee, bickered over comparison to Clinton’s Benghazi testimony. Donald Trump Jr.’s interview Wednesday with the House Intelligence Committee focused mainly on three areas, sources with knowledge of the interview told ABC News: The June 2016 meeting between Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort and a Russian attorney; Trump Jr.’s conversations with Wikileaks; and past business by the Trump Organization. (John Santucci and Benjamin Siegel) http://abcn.ws/2AxDOHz
Whistleblower alleges Flynn texted about Russia nuclear deal during inauguration, congressman says. A leading House Democrat revealed Wednesday he was approached by a whistleblower who said a businessman received a text from Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn in January indicating that a lucrative nuclear energy plan they had been developing with Russian partners was “Good to go.” (Matthew Mosk and Benjamin Siegel) http://abcn.ws/2nBcfYQ
Amid concerns about reporting criminal activity, Air Force secretary lays out way to address ‘systemic problem’. The secretary of the Air Force appeared before Congress Wednesday amid continued concerns that U.S. military services are not adequately reporting service members’ criminal records to law enforcement. (Elizabeth Mclaughlin) http://abcn.ws/2B90mPS
FEMA staffers could be billed for overtime after hurricanes. Over the past three months, FEMA Disaster Operations Director Marty Bahamonde has been home just once, for a two-week stretch. (Erin Dooley) http://abcn.ws/2kpu9N0
Gay man denied marriage license by Kim Davis challenging her for county clerk: I want to bring ‘people back together.’ Two years after Rowan County, Kentucky clerk Kim Davis denied a marriage license to David Ermold and his partner of 15-plus years, Ermold and Davis are crossing paths once again: He is now challenging Davis for her seat. (Kendall Karson) http://abcn.ws/2Ba1AKL
House passes bill allowing concealed carry across state lines. The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, one of the National Rifle Association’s top legislative priorities, passed in a largely party-line vote, 231-198, sending the measure to the Senate. (Benjamin Siegel) http://abcn.ws/2AyvZRM
Melania Trump, Karen Pence visit Whataburger for their fast food fix. Politicians’ wives — they’re just like us. First lady Melania Trump and second lady Karen Pence — along with their motorcade — needed their fast food fix Wednesday while in Corpus Christi, Texas, so they made a pit stop at Whataburger. (David Caplan) http://abcn.ws/2Ahghf0
The Washington Post reports that President Trump is urging Maine Governor Paul LePage to run for the U.S. Senate in 2018 against Independent Senator Angus King. http://wapo.st/2ACXsQv
The Note is a daily ABC News feature that highlights the key political moments of the day ahead. Please check back tomorrow for the latest.