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.
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. 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. "Is it two? I think there has to be - John Conyers is an icon in our country", she said.
Conyers said in his statement today, "I would like very much to remain as Ranking Member".
"That's for the [House] Ethics Committee to review".
Pelosi said Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press" that there may be a close look at the 88-year-old MI lawmaker's status as the top member on the House Judiciary Committee.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said that, as a mother of four daughters, she takes accusations of sexual harassment seriously, and called for the ethics investigation after a woman alleged Mr. Conyers fired her for refusing his sexual advances. "Any credible accusation must be reviewed by the Ethics Committee expeditiously", Ms Pelosi said.More news: David Cassidy's Last Words Are Shared by His Daughter
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 USA law enforcement, from civil rights and impeachment of federal officials to sexual harassment protections.
This week, the House is expected to approve a resolution mandating that all members and their staffs participate in anti-harassment and anti-discrimination training.
"We are strengthened by due process".
At least one House Democrat, Rep. Kathleen Rice of NY, has called on Conyers to step down from Congress.
"Something very transformative is happening", Pelosi said.
Pelosi earlier Sunday on "Meet the Press" urged "due process".