Several Congressional Democrats are turning on their colleagues amid a flurry of sexual assault allegations, with some encouraging the accused to resign.
CNN highlighted comments from Rep. Kathleen Rice as she left a recent meeting with House Democrats that allege party leadership are not addressing allegations against Reps. John Conyers and Al Franken seriously.
“I don’t have time for meetings that aren’t real,” Rice said.
CNN host John Berman posed the question to Rep. Tim Ryan: “Is that the case?”
“I share … Congresswoman Rice’s frustration that this is not happening quick enough, that we’re not addressing this issue fast enough. Some resolution that we’re going to pass today is not going to adequately address this issue,” Ryan said. “We need to make sure we’re setting the example here in the United States Congress ….”
“Does that mean that John Conyers needs to step down from Congress?” Berman asked.
Ryan said Conyers deserved an “expedited” due process, but said, “I believe the women that have come out.”
Ryan said “there no reason we can’t wrap this thing up this week,” referring to a House ethics investigation into Conyers alleged misdeeds, which include multiple allegations unwanted touching of female staffers, suggestions of sexual favors in exchange for career advancement, and use of taxpayer resources to fund multiple affairs.
At least one former staffer who refused Conyers’ alleged advances and was subsequently fired received a $27,000 settlement as part of a confidentiality agreement in 2015.
Ryan told Berman if the allegations against Conyers “are found to be true, he should definitely resign.”
Conyers, an 88-year-old career politician and longest serving member of Congress, has continued to deny any wrongdoing, though he’s vowed to cooperate with the House ethics investigation.
Ryan’s comments follow other top Democrats who have called for Conyers’ resignation.
“Notwithstanding the credibility of the witnesses, we have a process to determine where these allegations founded?” Steny Hoyer, the number two Democrat in the House told MSNBC. “And if they’re founded, yes, he should resign.”
Other Congressional Democrats are weighing in on numerous similar sexual harassment claims against Minnesota Rep. Al Franken.
“He told Minnesota Public Radio that he couldn’t be sure more accusers would not come forward, what do you think of that?” CNN’s Jake Trapper asked Rep. Jackie Speier, a Democrat from San Francisco.
“I guess I’m a little tired of the dance, because that would suggest to me that he, in fact, knows that he has done those kinds of things and done it more frequently than has come forward,” Speier said. “So, in the end, we’re here representing the people of our districts, but we’re also here representing this institution.
“And if you bring disgrace on this institution, then I think it’s time for you to go,” she said.
Democratic Rep. Kathleen Rice tore into Rep. James Clyburn on Wednesday, who dismissed accusations against Conyers as complaints by “white women.”
After Clyburn created a double standard for elected officials by answering “Who elected them?” when confronted with examples of media figures who resigned or were fired after allegations came to light, Rice asserted his reaction was not appropriate.
“I actually think that the fact that we, all of us here as representatives and senators, are sent here because of the public trust,” Rice said.
“We should honor that trust,” she said.
“It’s that kind of response that leads everyday Americans to say, ‘What is going on in Washington?'”
She said the public wonders why “everyone” in the private sector is “held accountable” while politicians “circle the wagons and protect their own.”