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Towns Downplays Rangel Charges

House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Edolphus Towns (D-N.Y.) minimized the 13 ethics charges against Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.) on Friday, saying the focus instead should be on Rangel’s lifetime of accomplishments.

“There is a process in place and we are going to respect that process and I’m sure he will as well,” Towns said. “We’re looking at all the things that he’s done for this country. I think that’s the thing we need to focus on. There’s no criminality here. … He indicated there is some sloppiness, but there is no criminality here. He did not benefit based on everything I’ve read, and I read last night, and he didn’t do anything that Charlie Rangel benefited from personally.”

Towns said that the New York delegation is “very supportive of Charlie Rangel. …He’s done a magnificent job over the years. …This guy is a war hero!” he exclaimed, referring to Rangel’s decorated service in Korea.

Rangel, meanwhile, declined to comment on the revelation from Rep. Gene Green (D-Texas), who chaired the subcommittee that investigated Rangel, that the panel had recommended Rangel to be reprimanded by the House. A reprimand is less severe than a censure or expulsion, but it would still require a vote of the full ethics committee and the House.

“I hope you guys have a good break and your loved ones get you back home and things work out,” Rangel told reporters. “Saying ‘no comment’ is not in my DNA, but unfortunately that’s the cards that are dealt me and I’m going to play it to the end.”

Asked if he still hoped to reach a settlement before a trial in September, Rangel sang out, “no comment.”

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