Conyers steps aside as ranking member on House Judiciary Committee


Speaking on NBC's Meet the Press prior to Conyers' announcement on Sunday, House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi called for "due process" before issuing a penalty over the allegations.

"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.

Asked specifically if she believes the women accusing Conyers of misconduc t - who have not been identified in reporting by BuzzFeed News - Pelosi replied: "I do not know who they are". "Just because someone is accused - and was it one accusation?" Melanie Sloan, an attorney and former aide to Conyers, said she was verbally abused by the Democratic congressman, and although she maintains she was not sexually harassed, calling herself "no shrinking violet", she also claims he once summoned her for a meeting while in his underwear.

Conyers said the allegations were "raised by documents reportedly paid for by a partisan alt-right blogger" and looks "forward to vindicating myself and my family before the House Committee on Ethics".

Conyers, who denies the allegations, said in a statement he wanted to stay on the committee but did not want to undermine his colleagues as he faces an ethics investigation. In that lawsuit, Buzfeed reported, the woman also said Conyers' wife, Monica Conyers, accused the woman of wanting to have an affair with her husband.

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Judiciary Committee's ranking member, pending the outcome of the ethics probe.

The California Democrat noted that the House in the coming week will vote on requiring anti-harassment and anti-discrimination training for all members and their staffs. Rep. Conyers is one of the original founding members of the Congressional Black Caucus.

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.

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

Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., who sponsored legislation to overhaul the system by which sexual complaints are made and settled on Capitol Hill, said Congress must show a greater commitment to addressing sexual misconduct.