We are now starting to see why Al Franken called for an investigation on himself … The man has a plan.
Franken knew from the get-go that LeeAnn Tweeden’s accusations were bogus. Hannity’s ally was playing a well-orchestrated part. He knew the story about the alleged “rehearsal” of their skit was bogus. Franken knew that he was never actually alone with her as she claimed. He knew he had a bodyguard/escort with him at all times. An eyewitness that could refute her allegations.
He also knew the picture of his hands NOT touching her was a gag — we don’t know if she was “in on it” at this point, but it wouldn’t be a bad bet that she was.
Even if she wasn’t, though, what happened there was not a “sexual assault” but an attempt at humor by some people who were traveling uncomfortably in a military plane and probably could use a laugh or two. We can stand back now and judge whether the attempt was in good taste or not, but regardless, it wasn’t an assault and it doesn’t even compare to allegations against others who were seriously seducing teenage girls or women under their authority.
Then there’s the fact that Tweeden voluntarily attended a USO dinner three years later to honor Franken for his work with the troops. If she was enraged as she claimed last week, it would have been much easier to decline the invitation rather than attend and “yuck it up” with Franken — which she did.
Franken probably knows more than we do about their relationship and communications over the years. That is why he demanded an ethics investigation and hearings. Meanwhile, his accuser didn’t want such a spotlight. Her plan seems to be more of a “hit and run” approach. The kind we often see done by cowards and trolls on the internet. “Drive by posting” it’s often called on Facebook. She was “drive-by accusing.” It seems obvious now that the plan was just to smear him and let the media and public “outrage” snowball without regard to the facts.
But they picked on the wrong guy. Al Franken’s calling card is a penchant for the facts. He knows how to get to the truth like few do. He sits on the Judiciary Committee and isn’t even a lawyer. On that committee, he has shown time and time again that one need not be a lawyer to get to the facts. Jeff Sessions currently is realizing just how smart and clever Franken is as Franken has now repeatedly caught him in lies that could cost him big going forward.
LeeAnn Tweeden will be exposed as a liar, one way or the other. Either hearings will happen and Tweeden will be exposed or she will come clean to avoid the proceedings.
And yes, a second accuser came forward. But like Tweeden, all early indications are that her story won’t pan out. It is highly dubious that Franken was playing grab ass at a public event literally 4 feet in front of her husband. The picture offered as “evidence” shows nothing improper. And again, it’s hard to believe Franken was “goosing her” standing in the middle of a State Fair with her husband 4 feet in front of them looking right at them while taking the picture.
Did Franken’s hand maybe inadvertently touch her behind while getting close for the photo? Maybe. And if he did, he would have owed her an “oops, sorry” at the time. But such an act is not “sexual assault” and anyone who wants to claim it is — has never been in a crowd where humans tend to touch. Beyond that, we have all had “oops, sorry” moments. Let us not start acting like such harmless things are crimes or have nefarious intent.
Women being assaulted sexually is a serious matter. What LeeAnn Tweeden started in attacking Franken, probably at the behest of Sean Hannity, will, unfortunately, do more damage to fighting such things in the end. Just as women were getting some long overdue attention to this issue, her fraud will bring undue doubt on others with legitimate claims.
Al Franken will clear his name, with the facts. Again, that is why he demanded the investigation himself. He is no fool — and he knows what really happened. His actions will benefit men in the sense that it will show that men do get falsely accused and that accusations do not equal guilt.
Also, keep in mind that after this investigation, the precedent will be set. Then others will need to submit themselves to scrutiny in this arena or other arenas.
That is certainly a good thing, but the damage caused by Tweeden will probably have much more damaging effects for other women in the future when their legitimate claims are doubted.
The radical right-wingers like Hannity thought they had a “gotcha” on Al Franken. The Senator is about to show Hannity, Tweeden, and others that they messed with the wrong guy. Hopefully, the conservative “gotcha” attempt will not dilute all the legitimate claims out there and we will continue to move forward towards a better society despite Hannity’s political tricks.
Featured image via Getty images used under license.