Al Franken’s Senate Ethics Committee investigation into allegations he sexually harassed a former Playboy model on a 2006 USO Tour, could open the door for Roy Moore and Donald Trump accusers to testify under oath about their sexual misconduct allegations.
Former Playboy model and Hooter’s hostess Leeann Tweeden explosively accused Franken of groping her and forcefully kissing her during the tour.
Franken quickly apologized to Tweeden and called for a full investigation of his actions.
A shadow was quickly cast on Tweeden’s credibility because she is a protege of hard-right commentator Sean Hannity, who has been accused of spreading false conspiracy theories largely against Democrats.
In the latest development, a man who says he was Franken’s military escort on the tour, disputes Tweeden’s version of events.
Her claims have also raised suspicions because Trump campaign operative and GOP dirty trickster Roger Stone Tweeted hours before Tweeden went public that Franken would be “in a barrel” over his conduct.
Senate President Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) has already announced that the Senate Ethics Committee will investigate the charges against Franken.
But there is nothing to prevent the hearing from including women who have accused both Moore and Trump of sexual harassment or sexual assault.
Indeed, some pundits claim Franken has gamed McConnell to investigate him to open the door to a wider probe of sexual misconduct in Washington.
In Moore’s case, nine women have gone public with allegations that Moore solicited teenagers for sex when he was a 30-year-old county prosecutor in Alabama.
One of the girls who was 14 at the time, said Moore drove her to his house, undressed her down to her bra and panties and touched her sexually. He also stripped down to his underwear and place his hand on his genitals.
The other women, now mostly in their 50s, told similar tales about Moore. He was allegedly banned from the local mall, according to reports, for soliciting teenagers for sex.
Moore has strenuously denied the allegations and claimed all are lying, even though he wrote a personal “love” note to one in her high school year book.
He’s also threatened to sue The Washington Post, which broke the story and claimed the women were paid to make up the stories.
Since he’s a candidate for the Senate and may win in a special election next month, he would be fair game for the Senate investigation.
Meanwhile, 14 women have come forward to accuse Trump of groping, harassing or sexually assaulting them during his career as a real estate developer.
Trump even bragged about groping women, kissing them without permission and “grabbing them by the pussy,” in an infamous open mic conversation with TV personality Billy Bush.
Like Moore, he claims all of the women are lying.
Giving them the opportunity to testify under oath–and the threat of perjury–would help shed light on who is telling the truth.
Trump could also be asked to testify, although he might have legal grounds to refuse under the separation of powers doctrine, known as “executive priviledge,” according to references.
Ironically, the controlling law in the matter arose out of the Watergate scandal involving President Richard Nixon.
In United States v. Nixon (1974), the Supreme Court acknowledged that the president had a limited right to executive privilege, but in instances when classified information or diplomatic secrets were involved.
Outside of that the court ordered Nixon to turn over the material sought by a subpoena from Chief Judge John J. Sirica of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Nixon complied.
While Trump may have legal grounds to avoid testifying, it would likely be politically damaging.
The question facing McConnell now is whether he can rein in the committee and prevent it from looking beyond Franken and Moore into Trump’s allegations.