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Al Franken apologizes again, signals he'll fight to stay in the Senate

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Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., listens during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing for Colorado Supreme Court Justice Allison Eid, on her nomination to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit, on Capitol Hill, Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017 in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Minnesota Sen. Al Franken issued another apology on Thanksgiving to women who have accused him of groping them, but indicated he intends to stay in the Senate, and said he would start working to rebuild the trust of voters in Minnesota.

"I feel terribly that I've made some women feel badly and for that I am so sorry, and I want to make sure that never happens again," he said in a statement.

"And let me say again to Minnesotans that I'm sorry for putting them through this and I'm committed to regaining their trust," he added.

Franken is under some pressure to resign his seat after four women came forward to accuse the Democratic senator of forcibly kissing them or touching their buttocks without their consent. Franken seemed to chalk that up to him just being friendly with people.

“I’ve met tens of thousands of people and taken thousands of photographs, often in crowded and chaotic situations. I’m a warm person; I hug people,” Franken said.

But Franken acknowledged that he “crossed a line” in some situations and says he’s learned from the stories of the women accusing him of inappropriately touching them.

“Some women have found my greetings or embraces for a hug or photo inappropriate, and I respect their feelings about that,” Franken’s Thanksgiving statement said. “I’ve thought a lot in recent days about how that could happen, and recognize that I need to be much more careful and sensitive in these situations.”

Franken, who has called for an investigation of himself from the Senate Ethics Committee, vowed to change his actions and regain the trust of Minnesotans.

But the senator did not clarify in the statement how he would do so, and a poll released Thursday showed only 22 percent of Minnesotans want Franken to stay in the Senate after the misconduct allegations surfaced.

Radio host Leeann Tweeden last week accused Franken of forcibly kissing her during a USO tour in 2006. Tweeden also released a photo of Franken appearing to touch her breasts while she was sleeping.

Days later, Lindsay Menz came forward and said Franken groped her while posing for a photo at the Minnesota State Fair in 2010, two years after he was elected to the Senate.

Two other women told the Huffington Post they attended events during Franken’s first Senate campaign where he touched their buttocks without permission.