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The Latest: Ariz. Rep. Franks resigns before Ethics probe

The Latest on Arizona Rep. Trent Franks' resignation (all times EST):

7:10 p.m.

Arizona Republican Trent Franks says he is resigning from the House because he discussed with two female staff aides whether they would consider being a surrogate mother.

Franks says he deeply regrets "that my discussion of this option and process in the workplace caused distress."

He says his resignation will take effect Jan. 31. He says he will not put his family, staff and fellow lawmakers through "hyperbolized public excoriation."

Franks says he and his wife, Josephine, have had several failed pregnancies before a surrogate gave them twins. After that, Franks says, he had a "discussion of surrogacy with two previous female subordinates."

He says that in the "current cultural and media climate" he would "unable to complete a fair House Ethics investigation."

___

7:02 p.m.

House Speaker Paul Ryan says he told Arizona Republican Rep. Trent Franks he should resign after "credible claims of misconduct."

Ryan said in a statement late Thursday that he found the allegations serious and requiring action.

Franks said he would resign effective Jan. 31. He acknowledges discussing surrogate motherhood with two female staffers.

Ryan says he presented the allegations to Franks, which he did not deny, and told Franks he would refer the allegations to the House Ethics Committee.

Ryan accepted Franks' resignation.

___

7 p.m.

Republican Rep. Trent Franks of Arizona says he is resigning Jan. 31 amid a House Ethics Committee investigation of possible sexual harassment.

Franks says in a statement that he never physically intimidated, coerced or attempted to have any sexual contact with any member of his congressional staff.

Instead, he says, the dispute resulted from a discussion of surrogacy. Franks and his wife have 3-year-old twins who were conceived through surrogacy.

Franks says he had become familiar with the surrogacy process in recent years, and "became insensitive as to how the discussion of such an intensely personal topic might affect others."

He said he regrets that his "discussion of this option and process in the workplace" with two female staffers made them feel uncomfortable.

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