Rep. John Conyers steps down as ranking member of House Judiciary Committee

Rep. John Conyers Steps Down From Judiciary Committee Amid Sexual Harassment Allegations

Representative John Conyers Jr, the longest-serving member of Congress, has stepped down as the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee amid an investigation into allegations that he sexually harassed former aides.

"After careful consideration and in light of the attention drawn by recent allegations made against me, I have notified the Democratic Leader of my request to step aside", said Conyers in a written statement on Sunday.

She repeatedly said that she wants to see the House Ethics Committee investigation of Conyers play out.

Conyers, 88, denied the first reported allegation, although he acknowledged that a settlement had existed. "I can not in good conscience allow these charges to undermine my colleagues in the Democratic Caucus, and my friends on both sides of the aisle in the Judiciary Committee and the House of Representatives".

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

He added, "I am grateful to my colleagues who have called for due process before weighing judgment". We are at a watershed moment on this issue, and no matter how great an individual's legacy, it is not a license for harassment. "Zero tolerance means consequences", she said later in the day on Sunday.

"Is it two? I think there has to be - John Conyers is an icon in our country", she told host Chuck Todd, pointing out that the congressman has "done a great deal to protect women".

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

Appearing on NBC's Meet the Press, Pelosi stopped short of calling for Conyers' resignation from Congress.

Pelosi did not respond directly when asked if she believed Conyers' accusers.

The move comes after it surfaced that he had paid a former staffer a settlement after she claimed she was sacked for rebuffing Conyers' sexual advances.

Conyers has admitted to making the payment to avoid public litigation, but has denied any sexual harassment claims.

Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., is the next most-senior Democrat on the Judiciary Committee after Conyers, the only African-American to have held the position of chairman or ranking member on the panel.

"The whole system needs to have a comprehensive shift", Democratic Congresswoman Jackie Speier told ABC's This Week.

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