Pelosi: Conyers deserves 'due process' on misconduct charges


Democrat John Conyers, the longest-serving member of the US Congress and an iconic civil rights leader, said Sunday he is stepping down from a leadership position as he battles allegations of sexual harassment. "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".

Melanie Sloan, a lawyer who worked with Conyers on the House Judiciary Committee, has also stepped forward to accuse Conyers of being "increasingly abusive" to her, behavior she says wasn't "sexual harassment" but "sexual discrimination".

The wrongful dismissal complaint she filed in 2014 with Congress' Office of Compliance was settled for more than $27,000 and Conyers said his office resolved the allegations "with an express denial of liability".

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

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. "Is it two?" Pelosi said on "Meet The Press".

"Zero tolerance means consequences", Pelosi said. "We are at a watershed moment on this issue".

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

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.

"This is about going forward", she said. "And a good deal of that would be done by the Judiciary Committee". "I will do everything in my power to continue to press on the important issues facing our committee, including criminal justice reform, workplace equality, and holding the Trump administration accountable".

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

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