Conyers Steps Down From Top Judiciary Committee Role Amid Ethics Probe

Pelosi, the leader of the House Democrats and a former Speaker, opened herself up to fierce criticism and outcry Sunday when she failed to call for Conyers' resignation, instead referring to him as an "icon" and suggesting that his accusers "haven't really come forward".

Pelosi suggested Sunday that the allegations against Franken - including that he kissed a woman against her will - were less serious than those against Moore, who is accused by one woman of sexual advances toward her when she was 14.

When asked in an interview with Chuck Todd on "Meet The Press" whether Conyers should step aside, the California Democrat instead praised the longtime MI lawmaker, citing his work on the Violence Against Women Act as an example of his respect for women.

Conyers, who has served in Congress since the 1960s, has been embattled since a BuzzFeed report this week.

The Democratic congressman John Conyers stepped down from the House judiciary committee on Sunday, amid allegations he used taxpayers' money to settle cases with women who accused him of sexual misconduct. Regarding the second allegation, a spokesperson for Conyers' office told TIME that the former staffer had made a decision to drop the case.

Conyers said the allegations were "raised by documents reportedly paid for by a partisan alt-right blogger" and looks "forward to vindicating myself and my family before the House Committee on Ethics".

The House Ethics Committee is investigating allegations involving Conyers after BuzzFeed reported that Conyers office paid $27,000 to a former female staffer who alleged that she was sacked after rebuffing his sexual advances.

Asked specifically if she believes the women accusing Conyers of misconduc t - who have not been identified in reporting by BuzzFeed News - Pelosi replied: "I do not know who they are".

Judiciary Committee's ranking member, pending the outcome of the ethics probe.

The wrongful dismissal complaint she filed in 2014 with Congress' Office of Compliance was settled for more than $27,000 and Conyers said his office resolved the allegations "with an express denial of liability". "Any credible accusation must be reviewed by the Ethics Committee expeditiously", Ms Pelosi said.

But she took a blunter approach to Conyers following news of his recusal from the committee.