Conyers steps down as ranking member of Judiciary Committee amid sexual harassment investigation

Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich. Photo by Tom Williams.

Rep. John Conyers, D-Michigan, has stepped down as ranking member of House Judiciary Committee amid a congressional investigation into sexual harassment and workplace abuse allegations by his former staffers.

"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 in a statement Sunday afternoon.

"I deny these allegations, many of which were raised by documents reportedly paid for by a partisan alt-right blogger," the statement continued. "I very much look forward to vindicating myself and my family before the House Committee on Ethics."

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This comes after Pelosi refused to criticize him when answering the press. 

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on Sunday refused to criticize Rep. John Conyers, a Michigan Democrat who has been accused of sexual harassment against former Capitol Hill staff.

"We are strengthened by due process," Pelosi said on NBC's Meet the Press.

"John Conyers is an icon in our country. He's done a great deal to protect women," she added, citing the congressman's support for the Violence Against Women Act.

Conyers faces a House Ethics Committee investigation over allegations that he sexually harassed and discriminated against members of his staff. Last week, Buzzfeed News reported that Conyers settled a wrongful dismissal complaint in 2015 for allegedly sexually harassing a staffer. Conyers has "expressly and vehemently" denied any wrongdoing.

Pelosi, D-California, placed responsibility on the House Ethics Committee to investigate the allegations, and for Conyers to "do the right thing."

"He will do the right thing in terms of what he knows about his situation, that he's entitled to due process, but women are entitled to due process as well," she said, adding, "We are talking about what we have heard. I have asked the Ethics Committee to look into that. He has said he is open, he will cooperate."

By Maegan Vazquez, CNN. The-CNN-Wire™ & © 2017 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

The Gayly – November 26, 2017 @ 6:00 p.m. CST.