Conyers steps aside as ranking member on House Judiciary Committee

Jerrold Nadler of NY, the second-ranking Democrat on the judiciary committee, said in a statement: "Conyers has a 50-year legacy of advancing the cause of justice, and my job moving forward is to continue that critical work". Just because someone is accused - was it one accusation?

Conyers said there is "still much work to be done" in "the face of an Administration that cares little for the rule of law and a President whose actions and conduct cheapens our discourse every day" - a jab at the Trump White House.

Pelosi, speaking during an appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday, called the allegations against Conyers a "big distraction".

Conyers, whose MI district includes half of Detroit, is the last member of either house of Congress to have served under President Lyndon Johnson in the 1960s.

Democratic Rep. John Conyers announced Sunday morning on Twitter that he will "step aside" as Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee.

Ms Pelosi declined to say whether Mr Conyers would suffer any immediate penalty over the allegations. "But I have come to believe that my presence as ranking member would not serve these efforts while the ethics committee investigation is pending". Regarding the second allegation, a spokesperson for Conyers' office told TIME that the former staffer had made a decision to drop the case.

Conyers added, "I would urge them to continue to do so for any Member accused of wrongdoing".

Leaders of the Ethics Committee said Tuesday they planned to investigate allegations that Conyers had sexually harassed or discriminated against staff members and used official resources "for impermissible personal purposes".

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

Judiciary Committee's ranking member, pending the outcome of the ethics probe. She said Conyers is an "icon in this country" who through his work in Congress "has done a great deal to protect women".

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.

"Any credible accusation must be reviewed by the Ethics Committee expeditiously".