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Leadership, CBC Differ on Conyers

Democratic leaders call for resignation, CBC members refrain

Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

After House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on Thursday called for Michigan Rep. John Conyers to resign, Democratic caucus leaders followed her lead but Congressional Black Caucus leaders did not.

“We’ve already issued a statement; I’ve called upon the same,” House Democratic Caucus Chairman Joe Crowley told reporters.

Rep. Linda Sanchez, the caucus vice chairwoman, also said she believes Conyers should resign from Congress.

“Were I having issues, that’s what I’d do, and I think it’s the right thing,” she said.

Sanchez initially said Wednesday she couldn’t call on Conyers to resign without seeing all the evidence. But after an additional woman came forward with another allegation, Sanchez told Roll Call on Thursday the accusations point to a pattern of inappropriate behavior.

“People want to convict based on the press, and I said it’s really hard without a process in which people can evaluate all the information to make snap judgments,” she said. “But the more allegations that come out and the more similar that they are in nature, the more it lends credence to the fact that this is probably an issue and a pattern. And so again I think Mr. Conyers will recognize that and do the right thing.”

While Pelosi’s decision to call on Conyers to resign freed more members to do the same, some held back Thursday.

“No, I plan talking to John today and that’s all I have to say about it,”
Congressional Black Caucus Chairman Cedric Richmond said when asked if he had any new thoughts on the matter.

Richmond issued a statement Tuesday saying he had a “very candid” conversation with Conyers but that “any decision to resign from office before the ethics investigation is complete is John’s decision to make.”

Asked Thursday to clarify he was still not asking Conyers to resign, Ricmond said, “I’m going to call him today and he and I will have a conversation.”

Rep. John Lewis, an influential CBC member, also would not call on Conyers to resign Thursday.

“I don’t have any comments on it,” he said. “It’s left up to him.”

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the same.

“That that’s a decision for John Conyers to make,” Sanders said after being asked to speak on the president’s position regarding Pelosi’s comment.

John T. Bennett contributed to this report.

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