Published: Mon, November 27, 2017
Health Care | By Alberto Manning

Conyers Says He'll 'Step Aside' From Judiciary Panel Amid Harassment Claims

Conyers Says He'll 'Step Aside' From Judiciary Panel Amid Harassment Claims

Rep. John Conyers, Michigan Democrat, stepped aside Sunday from his ranking position on the House Judiciary Committee while the House ethics committee investigates allegations of sexual harassment.

Denying the allegations, Conyers, a member of the Congressional Black Caucus who was first elected to the House in 1964, urged lawmakers to allow him "due process". Conyers is 88 years old, and it is impossible to see how he politically survives the multiple allegations of harassment, misconduct, and abusive behavior that have been leveled against him.

"John Conyers is an icon in our country", Pelosi said.

"I deny these allegations, many of which were raised by documents reportedly paid for by a partisan alt-right blogger".

Conyers said in his statement today, "I would like very much to remain as Ranking Member".

"I have come to believe that my presence as ranking member on the committee would not serve these efforts while the Ethics Committee investigation is pending", he said.

He added, "I am grateful to my colleagues who have called for due process before weighing judgment".

The House Ethics Committee announced last week that it had launched an investigation into the allegations of sexual harassment and age discrimination against Conyers involving his staff.

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"We must ensure the Congress has a climate of dignity and respect with zero tolerance for sexual harassment", she said.

In a statement Sunday, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said she welcomed Conyers' decision to give up the committee leadership post.

When pressed again, she replied that the review was under the jurisdiction of the House Ethics Committee.

When asked in an interview with Chuck Todd on "Meet The Press" whether Conyers should step aside, the California Democrat instead praised the longtime MI lawmaker, citing his work on the Violence Against Women Act as an example of his respect for women.

Conyers is accused of sexually harassing female staff members, and a secret settlement was paid out to one of his accusers.

"Something very transformative is happening", Pelosi said.

"I believe he understands what is at stake here and he will do the right thing", she said.

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