Congressman steps down from top post amid sexual harassment investigation

Congressman steps down from top post amid sexual harassment investigation

John Conyers, under investigation over allegations he sexually harassed female staff members, said Sunday he will step aside as the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee while fiercely denying he acted inappropriately during his long tenure in Congress. Conyers has acknowledged the payout, which he amounted to a severance package, but he denied the allegations about what it was for. 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. "I have asked for an ethics investigation, and as that investigation continues, Congressman Conyers has agreed to step aside as Ranking Member". BuzzFeed News, which first reported the settlement, said it had received documents from Mike Cernovich, a right-wing commentator.

"To be clear, I would like very much to remain as Ranking Member".

Pelosi suggested Sunday that the allegations against Franken - including that he kissed a woman against her will - were less serious than those against Moore, who is accused by one woman of sexual advances toward her when she was 14.

In a statement, the 88-year-old lawmaker made clear he would prefer to keep his leadership role on the committee, which has wide jurisdiction over US law enforcement, from civil rights and impeachment of federal officials to sexual harassment protections. "I very much look forward to vindicating myself and my family before the House Committee on Ethics", he said, adding that his withdrawal from the Judiciary Committee is an effort to avoid any distraction away from the committee's important work.

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

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But separately, she tweeted, in reference to Conyers, that "no matter how great an individual's legacy, it is not a license for harassment".

At least one House Democrat, Rep. Kathleen Rice of NY, has called on Conyers to step down from Congress.

Ms Pelosi declined to say whether Mr Conyers would suffer any immediate penalty over the allegations.

"We are strengthened by due process", Pelosi told host Chuck Todd on "Meet The Press".

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