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

27 November 2017

Democratic Rep. John Conyers announced Sunday morning on Twitter that he will "step aside" as Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee.

"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 as Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee during the investigation of these matters", Conyers said. I would urge them to continue to do so for any Member accused of wrongdoing.

Pelosi's defense of Conyers came just minutes after she acknowledged there was a "generational change" in the way sexual harassment allegations are treated, and praised women for increasingly confronting harassers.

Conyers' office recently confirmed issuing a settlement of $27,000 to a former staffer who says she was sacked for resisting the congressman's sexual advances.

The House Ethics Committee has opened an investigation into the allegations.

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"Basic fairness and decency dictate that if Mr. Conyerrs can speak publicly about the matter, the woman should be free to do so as well", Bloom said in a statement on Twitter.

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.

Conyers again denied the harassment allegations in a statement released Sunday but said he has requested to step down as the Judiciary Committee's ranking member.

When asked if she believed Conyers would resign, Pelosi hinted at his eventual decision. "Zero tolerance means consequences", she said later in the day on Sunday.

When pressed again, she replied that the review was under the jurisdiction of the House Ethics Committee. Al Franken of Minnesota and Republican Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore also are the subject of accusations.

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

She noted that the House in the coming week will vote on requiring anti-harassment and anti-discrimination training for all members and their staffs and suggested that non-disclosure agreements like the one Conyers signed to settle a 2015 complaint against him should be made public.

"We have made progress, but unfortunately 26 years ago, Washington wasn't ready to lead on this issue, and I'm afraid even today Washington can not lead the country on this issue", she said.

"This is about going forward", Pelosi said.

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