Al Franken speaks out about his resignation after #MeToo accusations: I deserved due process

Former Democratic Sen. Al Franken spoke out on Thursday night about his controversial resignation from Congress after several women accused him of sexual misconduct, expressing that he "deserved due process."

Appearing on "Conan," Franken began by pointing to the "gratifying" support he received from eight of his former colleagues who have said they've regretted their decision to push him out of office, but acknowledged that there was "a lot of division" among Democrats on the issue.

"They all basically said that I deserved due process and I believe I did, too," Franken told Conan O'Brien.

When asked why he stepped down instead of defending himself, the former Minnesota lawmaker responded by saying he was put in an "untenable situation."

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"I don't want to name any names, but my committee work would be at risk. I mean, basically losing that, my staff would be isolated, and I just couldn't serve the people of Minnesota," Franken explained. "But it really needed to have a process, but I just couldn't stay either. It was awful. There were no good choices."

"And there was a lot of pressure on you to step down," O'Brien said.

"A tremendous amount of pressure," Franken responded. "And I don't think I had any other choice."

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Franken then talked about the self-reflection he has had over the past year-and-a-half since his resignation.

"When this first happened, if you had asked me, 'Have you ever made a woman feel uncomfortable by the way you put your arm around her or touch her or something like that,' I would have said no," Franken said. "And after all of these allegations came in, I thought, 'Oh, I must have been doing something wrong.' So, you know, ever since, I've been a lot more mindful in my interactions with pretty much everyone."

"People that know me know I'm not that guy, that guy that 36 of my colleagues demanded that I go and put on the pressure- the pressure came on me in no uncertain terms that I had to go."

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Franken famously resigned from Congress in 2018 over groping allegations at the height of the #MeToo movement, following high-profile claims against Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, NBC News star Matt Lauer and others.

He was accused of acts of sexual misconduct, including claims by Leeann Tweeden, who said the Minnesota Democrat groped her and kissed her against her will during a USO tour in 2006. A photo emerged of Franken smiling as he appeared to touch Tweeden’s breasts while she was sleeping. Tweeden eventually accepted Franken’s public apology.

SiriusXM announced earlier this week that Franken will be hosting a weekly radio show called "The Al Franken Show" which is billed as a series of “thought-provoking conversations with headliners and experts in the fields of politics, entertainment, media, technology, global affairs, and more,” with comic legend Chris Rock scheduled to be the debut guest.

Fox News' Brian Flood contributed to this report.