In an awkward interview, Nancy Pelosi defends Democratic congressman accused of harassment

Rep. John Conyers D-Mich. speaks at Wayne State University in Detroit. Democrats have been quick to support the “me too” chorus of women _ and some men _ who have stepped up to allege sexual misconduct and

Rep. John Conyers, Michigan Democrat, stepped aside Sunday from his ranking position on the House Judiciary Committee while the House ethics committee investigates 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".

Buzzfeed reported on November 20 that Conyers had reached a settlement that exceeded $27,000 with a former staffer who alleged that the congressman had sexually harassed her and she was sacked because she rejected his advances.The following day, Buzzfeed reported that another of Conyers' former staffers had tried to sue him for making sexual overtures toward her and creating a hostile work environment, but the former staffer withdrew the claim when the court would not let the complaint remain sealed.

Conyers, a longtime Michigan Democrat, is now embroiled in a sexual harassment scandal, amid reports that he secretly reached a settlement with a former female staffer.

Conyers has repeatedly denied the allegations made against him, and continued to do so in his statement.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi issued a statement shortly following Mr Conyers' announcement.

Pelosi insists that Conyers deserves "due process" and will "do the right thing" after Congress returns from Thanksgiving break on Monday. "Is it two? I think there has to be - John Conyers is an icon in our country", she said. "We are at a watershed moment on this issue". It revealed that in 2015, he reached a taxpayer-funded settlement in a female staffer's sexual harassment claim.

He has rejected calls for his resignation and so has the House's top Democrat - for now. And that's very important.

"To be clear, 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. Last month, she shared her own story of being sexually assaulted by a high-level aide while she was a staffer. "We must ensure the Congress has a climate of dignity and respect with zero tolerance for sexual harassment".

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