House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and members of the Congressional Black Caucus have privately urged Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) to resign from Congress given the recent allegations of sexual misconduct aired by several former Conyers staffers, according to several reports out Tuesday evening.
Pelosi has not publicly called on Conyers to step down, though she said Monday that she met with one of his accusers and that she believes her. Yet, she has urged him in private to step down, according to the Washington Post and the Associated Press.
Conyers also met with the Congressional Black Caucus, which he helped found, on Tuesday, and some CBC members encouraged him to step aside, according to several reports. The AP reported that CBC members explained to Conyers why he should resign but told the congressman that the decision was up to him, citing an unnamed senior House aide. The Detroit News reported that leaders of the caucus urged Conyers to resign, citing a Democratic source on Capitol Hill.
In a statement after the meeting, CBC Chair Cedric Richmond (D-LA) said that he supports Conyers’ decision to step down as the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee and that a decision to resign from Conyers should be left up to Conyers.
“Today I met with John and we had a very candid conversation about the seriousness of the allegations against him, which he vehemently denies. I told him that I agreed with his decision to step down as ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee at this time. I also told him that I encourage and expect him to fully cooperate with the ethics investigation. He said he would,” Richmond said in the statement. “Any decision to resign from office before the ethics investigation is complete is John’s decision to make.”
Going into the Tuesday afternoon meeting, members of the CBC were split on how Conyers should approach the allegations, according to Politico. Some wanted Conyers to resign, while others would like to wait for the House Ethics Committee to investigate the allegations, per Politico.
Conyers was spotted on a flight back to Michigan Tuesday night, per the AP, and he was not spotted at evening votes in the House, per the Washington Post.
Conyers faces allegations of sexual misconduct from several former female staffers. Buzzfeed News first reported last week that Conyers reached a settlement with a former staffer who alleged she was fired for rejecting his sexual advances. Since that report, other women have come forward to describe Conyers’ inappropriate behavior. Deanna Maher, who served as Conyers’ deputy chief of staff in his Michigan office, described to the Detroit News in a report published Monday several incidents during which Conyers made unwanted advances or touched her inappropriately.