Pelosi: 'John Conyers is an icon in our country'

Mich. Democrat accused of sexual harassment

WASHINGTON (CNN) - House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on Sunday refused to criticize Rep. John Conyers, a Michigan Democrat who has been accused of sexual harassment against former Capitol Hill staff.

"We are strengthened by due process," Pelosi said on NBC's "Meet the Press."

"John Conyers is an icon in our country. He's done a great deal to protect women," she added, citing the congressman's support for the Violence Against Women Act.

Conyers faces a House Ethics Committee investigation over allegations that he sexually harassed and discriminated against members of his staff. Last week, Buzzfeed News reported that Conyers settled a wrongful dismissal complaint in 2015 for allegedly sexually harassing a staffer. Conyers has "expressly and vehemently" denied any wrongdoing.

Pelosi, D-California, placed responsibility on the House Ethics Committee to investigate the allegations, and for Conyers to "do the right thing."

"He will do the right thing in terms of what he knows about his situation, that he's entitled to due process, but women are entitled to due process as well," she said, adding, "We are talking about what we have heard. I have asked the Ethics Committee to look into that. He has said he is open, he will cooperate(.)"

An attorney for Conyers said that the congressman will not resign amid the investigation.

Asked if she believes the women accusing Conyers, Pelosi said: "I don't know who they are. Do you? They have not come forward."

Asked again, if she believes the accusers, she said:

"That's for the Ethics Committee to review, but I believe he understands what is at stake here and he will do the right thing."


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