The longest-serving (and self-serving) member of Congress, Democratic Rep. John Conyers, announced that he’s stepping down (temporarily, we assume and he hopes) from his position as the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, following a rising number of accusations related to sexual misconduct around female staffers and misuse of taxpayer funds to pay off alleged victims. Here’s the latest:
This came just hours after House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi tried to fend off calls for his resignation on “Meet The Press” (including a sharp demand from it from his liberal hometown newspaper, the Detroit Free Press). Pelosi called Conyers an “icon” who had done great things to protect women and who (unlike, I presume, Roy Moore) deserves due process. I think we can safely assume from Conyers’ abrupt exit so shortly afterward that her salvage effort went over with viewers about as well as tofurkey at an NRA Thanksgiving banquet.
In stepping down, Conyers issued a statement that was a textbook example of spin and deflection. He downplayed the substance while attacking the messenger, dismissing the charges as “documents reportedly paid for by a partisan alt-right blogger.”
True, they were unearthed by conservative media figure Mike Cernovich, but he knew his political views would be used to try to discredit the documents, so he turned them over to Buzzfeed.com for vetting. The papers Conyers implied were suspicious, partisan “documents” were actually sworn affidavits by Congressional staffers who were alleged victims and witnesses in a 2015 sexual harassment lawsuit that Conyers settled. And in vetting the story, Buzzfeed unearthed another such lawsuit.
Naturally, Conyers also tried to point the finger of shame elsewhere, noting how important it was for true public servants like himself to stand up to an Administration “that cares little for the rule of law and a President whose actions and conduct cheapens our discourse every day.” Really? You might not like Trump’s tweets, but I’ve never heard him accused of tweeting in his underwear in front of female staffers. As for caring little for the rule of law, Trump (who was early on accused of wanting to be a Hitler-like dictator) has actually been rolling back executive power, reinstating the separation of powers, seeking to impose his biggest agenda items legislatively, and fighting court rulings against him via the proper channels, even when they are transparently partisan and unconstitutional. Obama would have just whipped out his pen and his phone. No telling what John Conyers would have whipped out.
And it probably wasn’t a great idea for Conyers to extol his entire family’s legacy of fighting for justice, including his wife, Monica, who served 27 months in prison on a bribery charge.
Still, you always have to look at anything done on the federal level of the Democratic Party in terms of political calculation. Pelosi tried to throw him a lifeline, and it was chewed up by media sharks. Conyers says he looks forward to being completely exonerated by the House Ethics Committee. But as Ed Driscoll at Instapundit notes, Conyers is 88, and his district is so blue, he won reelection just last year by 77%. If the Democrats sense a 2018 wave coming that will help them retake the House and launch impeachment charges against Trump for the high crime of defeating Hillary Clinton, then now is as good a time as any to toss Conyers under the bus and install the next Democrat to fill that seat until 2050.
In short, there’s a good chance the writing’s on the wall for John Conyers, no matter how much whitewash Democrats on the Ethics Committee try to apply to it.
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