Rep. John Conyers announces retirement in wake of sexual harassment allegations

Published: Tuesday, December 05, 2017 @ 10:27 AM
Updated: Tuesday, December 05, 2017 @ 3:02 PM

What You Need to Know - John Conyers

Update Dec. 5, 3:05 p.m. EST: U.S. Rep. John Conyers, the longest-serving member of Congress, submitted his resignation Tuesday afternoon after announcing earlier in the day his plan to retire amid concerns for his health and allegations that he sexually harassed several women who worked for him.

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The Democratic congressman said Tuesday in a letter addressed to House Speaker Paul Ryan and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi that his retirement was “effective today.”

Original report: Longtime Rep. John Conyers announced Tuesday that he will retire in the wake of allegations that he sexually harassed several women who worked for him.

He endorsed his son, John Conyers III, to replace him during an interview Tuesday morning on WPZR’s “The Mildred Gaddis Show.”

“My legacy can’t be compromised or diminished in any way by what we’re going through now,” Conyers said. “This too shall pass. My legacy will continue through my children.”

The announcement came amid growing calls for Conyers’s resignation.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-California, called for the congressman to step down last week just days after she called him an “icon” of the Democratic Party. Conyers, who was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1964, was the longest-serving member of Congress, with 52 years of service.

"The allegations against Congressman Conyers ... are serious, disappointing and very credible," Pelosi said. "It's very sad. The brave women who have come forward are owed justice. I pray for Congressman Conyers and his family, and wish them well; however, Congressman Conyers should resign."

>> Related: Rep. John Conyers hospitalized amid sex harassment accusations, calls for resignation

On Monday, a woman who said she worked for Conyers for more than a decade said he slid his hand up her skirt and rubbed her thighs while she was sitting next to him in the front row of a church.

Elisa Grubbs made the allegation in an affidavit released late Monday by her attorney, Lisa Bloom. Grubbs is the cousin of another accuser, Marion Brown, who reached a confidential settlement with the congressman over sexual harassment allegations, but broke the confidentiality agreement to speak publicly last week.

Brown, who worked for Conyers in a variety of capacities from 2003 until 2014, told NBC’s the “Today” show last week that the lawmaker “violated my body, he's touched me in different ways.”

“It was very uncomfortable and very unprofessional," she said. “It was sexual harassment -- violating my body, propositioning me, inviting me to hotels with the guise of discussing business and propositioning for sex.”

At least four other former staff members have accused him of inappropriate behavior, the Detroit Free Press reported. He has denied any wrongdoing.

>> Related: Conyers steps aside from House Judiciary Committee post

Michigan state Sen. Ian Conyers, the 29-year-old grandson of John Conyers’s brother, earlier told The New York Times that the 88-year-old Democratic congressman planned to announce that he would not run for re-election. The elder Conyers’s attorney, Arnold Reed, declined to address the report Tuesday.

"I have not spoken to Ian Conyers and no one is aware of the congressman's plans except he and I and his wife," Reed wrote.

Reed said at a news conference last week that John Conyers alone would decide whether he would step down amid growing pressure from his Democratic and Republican colleagues.

"They're not going to determine whether Congressman Conyers resigns," Reed said. "He's not thinking about that. He's thinking about his health -- he's thinking about getting well."

John Conyers was hospitalized last week with what a family spokesman called a stress-related illness after complaining of feeling light-headed.

Reed has said John Conyers' health would be the paramount consideration in whether he decides to step down from his House seat.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Trump campaign ad calls Democrats 'complicit' in killings by undocumented immigrants

Published: Sunday, January 21, 2018 @ 9:07 AM

President Trump’s Physical Exam Results Released

A new ad released by President Donald Trump's campaign is claiming that Democrats are “complicit” in killings by undocumented immigrants. The ad was released after Senate Democrats opposed a short-term spending bill to keep the government from shutting down.

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“President Trump is right — build the wall, deport criminals, stop illegal immigration now,” the ad said, showing clips of top Democrats. “Democrats who stand in our way will be complicit in every murder committed by illegal immigrants.”

>> Trump cancels Florida trip as government shutdown looms

“President Trump will fix our border and keep our families safe,” the ad concluded. The ad was released on the one-year anniversary of Trump’s inauguration.

>> Government shutdown: What closes; will you get your Social Security check; what happens to SNAP, WIC

On Friday, Senate Democrats opposed a short-term spending bill to fund the government and keep it from shutting down after Republicans refused to include a provision to protect thousands of immigrants brought here as children.

>> Read more trending news 

President Trump bashed Democrats after the failed vote, saying that they wanted “unchecked illegal immigration.”

“Democrats are holding our Military hostage over their desire to have unchecked illegal immigration. Can’t let that happen!” he tweeted Saturday morning.

Earlier on Saturday, he again bashed Democratstweeting that they were more “concerned with Illegal Immigrants than they are with our great Military or Safety at our dangerous Southern Border.”

(H/t: The Hill)

What You Need to Know: Government Shutdown

Women's marches, events taking place across nation

Published: Saturday, January 20, 2018 @ 12:20 PM

WATCH: Scenes From 2018 Women's March

A series of women’s marches, protests and voter registration events are taking place across the country this weekend.

This weekend marks the one-year anniversary of President Donald Trump’s inauguration. In 2017, the Women’s March on Washington drew a large crowd that marched in protest of Trump’s election. Women’s marches were held across the country and the world.

For 2018, marches and rallies are being held in cities across the country throughout the weekend. There will be a voter registration drive on Sunday in Las Vegas.

Trump cancels Florida trip as government shutdown looms

Published: Friday, January 19, 2018 @ 11:35 AM

What You Need to Know: Government Shutdown

President Donald Trump will not make a planned trip to Mar-a-Lago today because of a looming federal government shutdown, a White House official told The Palm Beach Post on Friday morning.

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Trump was scheduled to arrive at Palm Beach International Airport tonight for a weekend trip that included a Saturday fundraiser for his 2020 re-election campaign at Mar-a-Lago. The official who confirmed today’s travel is off did not address the president’s plans for the remainder of the weekend.

5 Things to Know About Mar-a-Lago

Trump was planning to make the 12th Palm Beach visit of his presidency. But Congress has not reached a spending agreement to keep the federal government operating past midnight.

Saturday is the one-year anniversary of Trump taking office. The Trump campaign recently announced a “special sweepstakes” in which a winner will get to attend dinner Saturday at Mar-a-Lago with Trump, first lady Melania Trump and Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump.

Trump physical results: 6 things to know

Published: Tuesday, January 16, 2018 @ 5:16 PM

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 16:  U.S. President Donald Trump speaks as he stops by a Conversations with the Women of America panel at the South Court Auditorium of Eisenhower Executive Office Building January 18, 2018 in Washington, DC. The three-part panel features ÒAmerican women from various backgrounds and experiences who will speak with high-level women within the Trump Administration, about what has been accomplished to date to advance women at home, and in the workplace.Ó  (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Alex Wong/Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 16: U.S. President Donald Trump speaks as he stops by a Conversations with the Women of America panel at the South Court Auditorium of Eisenhower Executive Office Building January 18, 2018 in Washington, DC. The three-part panel features ÒAmerican women from various backgrounds and experiences who will speak with high-level women within the Trump Administration, about what has been accomplished to date to advance women at home, and in the workplace.Ó (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)(Alex Wong/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump is in excellent health and likely to finish his term in office without any medical issues, a presidential doctor said Tuesday at a news conference, four days after the president underwent a physical exam.

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“The president's overall health is excellent," White House physician Dr. Ronny Jackson said Tuesday.

Here are six things to know about the results of the president’s physical:

Jackson: ‘He had great findings across the board’

Trump is in “very, very good health,” Jackson said Tuesday. 

“(I have) no concerns for his heart health,” the presidential physician said. “There are many good things that came from his exam, I think he had great findings across the board. “

>> White House physician releases official report

Jackson said Trump’s good health is likely to last through “the remainder of this tern, and even for the remainder of another term, if he’s elected.” He said he based his assessment on the president’s cardiac results.

“He falls into a category that portends years of event-free living,” Jackson said. “He has incredibly good genes, and that’s just the way God made him.”

Cognitive screening showed no issues

Jackson said he conducted a cognitive screening on Trump at the president’s request, although he felt the test was unnecessary.

“I’ve spent almost every day in the president’s presence,” said Jackson, whose office is near Trump’s. “I’ve got to know him pretty well and I had absolutely no concerns about his cognitive ability or neurological functions.”

He said that in all his conversations with Trump, the president has been “very articulate.”

“I’ve never known him to repeat himself around me,” Jackson said. “He says what he wants to say and speaks his mind.”

Infamous slurred speech incident might have been caused by medication

A December incident in which the president sounded as though he was slurring his speech while announcing a policy shift in Israel was probably due to a medication, Jackson said.

>> Related: Trump’s slurred speech: Is it loose-fitting dentures, dry mouth or something else?

“We evaluated him, we checked everything out and everything was normal,” Jackson said, adding that the incident was likely caused because the president needed water.

He said prior to the Dec. 7 incident, he gave Trump Sudafed, which might have “inadvertently dried up his secretions.”

Why Did President Trump Slur His Words in a Recent Speech?

Trump working to lose 10-15 pounds

At 6-foot-3 and 239 pounds, the president has a body mass index of 29.9, just under the number that would designate him as obese, according to information released Tuesday.

“The president, he and I talked and... I think a reasonable goal over the next year or so is (to lose) 10 or 15 pounds,” Jackson said, adding that a nutritionist would be meeting with White House chefs in the coming weeks and that Trump would be put on an exercise routine.

“He’s more enthusiastic about the diet,” Jackson said.

Jackson not concerned about Trump’s stress levels

Despite concerns from the public and reports that have painted a chaotic White House, Jackson said that he has no concerns about the president’s stress levels.

“I talk to him sometimes about stress just because I think it’s my job as his physician to bring it up on occasion,” he said. “I’ve never seen the president stressed out too much. ... He has a unique ability to push the reset button and he just gets up and he starts a new day. (I think it’s) made him healthier from a stress standpoint.”

Jackson did not test Trump’s hearing

Jackson said he didn’t have enough time to test Trump’s hearing, although he planned to conduct such a test in future physicals.

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