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

John Conyers addresses an audience in Dearborn Michigan

Representative John Conyers Jr, the longest-serving member of Congress, has stepped down as the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee amid an investigation into allegations that he sexually harassed former aides.

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.

BuzzFeed broke the story last week that Conyers' office had paid an accuser $27,000 to settle a complaint that she had been fired after refusing his sexual advances.

The questions from Todd to Pelosi come amid allegations of sexual misconduct claims against Alabama GOP Senate candidate Roy Moore, which many in Congress have said should disqualify him from Congress before the December 12 special election against Democrat Doug Jones.

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

Conyers says he will fully cooperate with the Ethics Committee, which said it will review the allegations of harassment and age discrimination as well as using "official resources for impermissible personal purposes". We are at a watershed moment on this issue, and no matter how great an individual's legacy, it is not a license for harassment.

Conyers has admitted to making the payment to avoid public litigation, but has denied any sexual harassment claims. "Was it two?" Pelosi asked.

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. "We also have to address it for every person, every workplace in the country, not just in the Congress of the United States".

"Even under these unfortunate circumstances, the important work of the Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee must move forward", Nadler said.

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

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