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Matt Shuham

Matt Shuham is a news writer for TPM. He was previously assistant editor of The National Memo and managing editor of the Harvard Political Review. He is available by email at mshuham@talkingpointsmemo.com and on Twitter @mattshuham.

Articles by Matt

Yet another former staffer of Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) alleged that the congressman regularly sexually harassed her, BuzzFeed reported Tuesday, a day after the same outlet reported on claims of harassment and wrongful termination made against the congressman.

The accuser, whose name BuzzFeed redacted from court documents listing her allegations, sought damages for Conyers’ actions in federal court but abandoned the effort when a judge denied her motion to seal the case. Her suit also listed as defendants Conyers’ chief of staff and district director, BuzzFeed reported.

The former scheduler alleged that Conyers touched her inappropriately and made repeated advances on her.

When his Washington, D.C. office’s chief of staff was put on administrative leave in March 2016, in one example, the court filing alleged “Defendant Conyers became more and more aggressive and continued to behave inappropriately towards the Plaintiff through the day by repeatedly coming to her desk, rubbing her shoulders, kissing her forehead, making inappropriate comments, covering and attempting to hold her hand.”

The filing was quickly deleted from BuzzFeed’s report after being initially included.

BuzzFeed quoted a spokesperson for Conyers who said of the accuser: “[The former staffer] voluntarily decided to drop her case.”

On Monday, BuzzFeed reported on affidavits from former Conyers staffers provided to the publication by the right-wing conspiracy theorist Mike Cernovich. In them, the staffers alleged Conyers had made advances on and inappropriately touched his employees, and also that he had used taxpayer money to fly women into Washington, D.C.

Conyers denied wrongdoing in a statement following that report, but acknowledged reaching a settlement agreement — in which he admitted no guilt, the statement noted — with a former staffer who alleged she was fired for refusing his advances.

The House Ethics Committee announced it was launching a investigation into the allegations against Conyers on Tuesday following Buzzfeed’s first report.

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The House Ethics Committee on Tuesday launched an investigation into Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), following a BuzzFeed report that he had made sexual advances on staffers and reached a settlement with one former staffer who said she was fired for rejecting such advances.

“The Committee is aware of public allegations that Representative John Conyers, Jr. may have engaged in sexual harassment of members of his staff, discriminated against certain staff on the basis of age, and used official resources for impermissible personal purposes,” the chairwoman and ranking member of the committee, Reps. Susan Brooks (R-IN) and Ted Deutch (D-FL), wrote in a statement Tuesday. “The Committee, pursuant to Committee Rule 18(a), has begun an investigation and will gather additional information regarding these allegations.”

BuzzFeed reported Monday night on allegations that Conyers had made advances on and asked for sexual favors from staffers, in addition to using public funds to fly in women, with whom staffers believed Conyers was having affairs, to Washington, D.C.

Right-wing conspiracist Mike Cernovich provided BuzzFeed with the affidavits on which the reporting was first inspired. BuzzFeed also described a $27,000 settlement Conyers’ reached with a female staffer who claimed to have been fired for rejecting his advances.

Conyers vehemently denied wrongdoing in a statement Tuesday, but acknowledged that he had “resolved the allegations – with an express denial of liability – in order to save all involved from the rigors of protracted litigation.”

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Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) on Tuesday “vehemently” denied allegations of sexual impropriety published by BuzzFeed News Monday night, but he did acknowledge resolving allegations with one former staffer who accused him of firing her for refusing his advances.

“I expressly and vehemently denied the allegations made against me, and continue to do so,” Conyers said in a statement shared with TPM. (Read Conyers’ full statement below.) “My office resolved the allegations – with an express denial of liability – in order to save all involved from the rigors of protracted litigation. That should not be lost in the narrative.”

Earlier Tuesday, the Associated Press reported that Conyers denied knowledge of the claims in the BuzzFeed story when approached by a reporter at his home.

“Conyers, who answered the door at his Detroit home Tuesday morning, says he knows nothing about any claims of inappropriate touching and learned of the story just hours earlier,” the AP wrote.

But a spokesperson for Conyers said, in the same email that included the congressman’s statement, that “Congressman Conyers was under the impression the reporter was speaking of recent allegations of which he was unaware of and denied,” when the AP made an “unannounced visit” to Conyers’ home.

BuzzFeed reported Monday night that Conyers had reached a $27,000 settlement with a former staffer who claimed she had been fired from his office for refusing his sexual advances.

Reporting out documents provided by the right-wing conspiracist Mike Cernovich, BuzzFeed confirmed the authenticity of four affidavit related to the case, including with the woman accusing Conyers of misconduct. The settlement was reportedly paid out of Conyers’ taxpayer-funded office budget.

BuzzFeed reported that at least one other former staffer reported sexual advances from Conyers in an affidavit. She also wrote: “I am personally aware of several women who have experienced the same or similar sexual advances made towards them by Rep[.] John Conyers.”

Read Conyers’ full statement below:

I have long been and continue to be a fierce advocate for equality in the workplace and I fully support the rights of employees who believe they have been harassed or discriminated against to assert claims against their employers.  That said, it is important to recognize that the mere making of an allegation does not mean it is true.  The process must be fair to both the employee and the accused.  The current media environment is bringing a much-needed focus to the important issue of preventing harassment in workplaces across the country.  However, equally important to keep in mind in this particular moment is the principle of due process and that those accused of wrongdoing are presumed innocent unless and until an investigation establishes otherwise.   In our country, we strive to honor this fundamental principle that all are entitled to due process.  In this case, I expressly and vehemently denied the allegations made against me, and continue to do so.  My office resolved the allegations – with an express denial of liability – in order to save all involved from the rigors of protracted litigation.  That should not be lost in the narrative.  The resolution was not for millions of dollars, but rather for an amount that equated to a reasonable severance payment.  There are statutory requirements of confidentiality that apply to both the employee and me regarding this matter.  To the extent the House determines to look further at these issues, I will fully cooperate with an investigation.

This post has been updated.

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The Democratic Senate candidate in Alabama is running a television ad featuring quotes from White House adviser Ivanka Trump, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL), each distancing themselves from the Republican candidate in the race, Roy Moore.

“On Roy Moore’s disturbing actions, Ivanka Trump says ‘There’s a special place in hell for people who prey on children,’ and ‘I have no reason to doubt the victims’ accounts,’” a narrator says, as Trump’s quote appears over a bare black background.

The voice over continues: “Jeff Sessions says, ‘I have no reason to doubt these young women.’ And Richard Shelby says he will ‘Absolutely not’ vote for Roy Moore.”

As Trump’s quote re-appears on screen, the narrator concludes: “Conservative voices, putting children and women over party, doing what’s right.”

The ad was flagged by the Washington Post on Tuesday, in a report that noted it was “now in heavy rotation.”

Moore has been accused, on the record, by multiple women of sexual misconduct. Leigh Corfman told the Washington Post, in a Nov. 9 story, that Moore attempted to initiate sexual contact with her when she was 14. Beverly Young Nelson claimed in a press conference days later that Moore sexually assaulted her when she was 16. Moore has denied all wrongdoing.

The White House has refused to say, as many other Republican leaders and organizations have said, that Moore should step aside from the race, instead insisting that Alabama voters should decide whether Moore is sent to the Senate on Dec. 12.

White House adviser Kellyanne Conway even said Monday that a vote for Jones would be a vote against President Donald Trump’s promised tax cuts.

Watch the ad below:

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Eight women have come forward to accuse television personality Charlie Rose of unwanted sexual advances over multiple decades in a Washington Post report published Monday.

CBS suspended Rose, who serves as an anchor on the network’s marquee morning news program. The production and distribution of his eponymous show were halted after the report, the Associated Press reported.

Three women went on the record with their stories to the Post, and five more described Rose’s behavior without being named. The Post said it corroborated the eight sources’ allegations, which spanned from the late 1990s to 2011, in interviews with “friends, colleagues or family members who said the women had confided in them about aspects of the incidents.”

Rose told the Post that “I deeply apologize for my inappropriate behavior” and “I am greatly embarrassed.” Still, he said he did not “believe that all of these allegations are accurate.”

“I always felt that I was pursuing shared feelings, even though I now realize I was mistaken,” Rose said.

Reah Bravo, an intern who became an associate producer on Rose’s show, told the Post about Rose’s “unwanted sexual advances” after she began working for him in 2007.

In one instance, she said Rose come up behind her and put his arms around her at his Bellport, New York home, where she was working and living for a week. In another instance, Bravo said, Rose “grabbed me by my hair, holding a fist of it at the base of my scalp” while they shared a car. More than once, she told the Post, “he would grip my head tightly while talking to me,” forcing her to “look at him or to let him talk directly into my ear.”

Bravo also described instances of Rose’s appearing nude before her. Once, on a small plane, Bravo described Rose pressing his body into hers.

Kyle Godfrey-Ryan, a former assistant of Rose’s, recalled t0 the Post “at least a dozen” instances where Rose walked nude in front of her in one of his homes in New York City, in addition to calling her and describing fantasies of seeing her swimming naked.

The Post reported that, according to Godfrey-Ryan, she was fired when Rose learned she had told a mutual friend about his behavior.

Godfrey-Ryan said she’d also told Rose’s executive producer, Yvette Vega, about the calls. Two unnamed women separately told the Post that they “repeatedly” reported Rose’s behavior to Vega. Vega told the Post, referring to women working on Rose’s show: “I should have stood up for them … I failed. It is crushing. I deeply regret not helping them.”

Two unnamed former employees told the Post that the young women hired for Rose’s show were sometimes known as “Charlie’s Angels,” and that Rose gave “unsolicited shoulder rubs” to “several” of them, in what was known as “the crusty paw,” according to one unnamed former employee.

One unnamed job applicant described an overnight trip to the Bellport home that she agreed to take after Rose suggested, according to the Post, “they see how they traveled together.”

Eventually, Rose appeared before her nude but for an untied bathrobe at around 2 a.m. He attempted to put his hand down her pants, she told the Post. Her memories of what happened next were “hazy,” she said, but she ended up with Rose in his bedroom, where he tried reached down her pants. She resisted again, crying. Rose eventually appeared to fall asleep, and she left the room.

The unnamed woman said that the next morning, when she described the previous night as “a bit of a disaster,” he responded: “What do you mean?” She didn’t get the job, she told the Post.

Read the Post’s full report here.

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White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Monday that the White House’s position on Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore “hasn’t changed,” despite White House adviser Kellyanne Conway saying that a vote for Moore’s opponent would be a vote against tax cuts.

Multiple women have accused Moore of sexual misconduct. Leigh Corfman told the Washington Post on Nov. 9 that Moore attempted to initiate sexual contact with her when she was 14 — “a 14-year-old child,” she emphasized Monday — and another woman, Beverly Young Nelson, claimed in a press conference on Nov. 13 that Moore sexually assaulted her when she was 16. 

Conway told Alabamians Monday that Moore’s opponent, Doug Jones, was “a doctrinaire liberal.” Asked if she was advocating for Moore, Conway said: “I’m telling you that we want the votes in the Senate to get this tax bill through.”

“Look, obviously, the President wants people both in the House and the Senate that support his agenda,” Sanders said, responding to a question about Conway’s comment Monday. “But as I’ve said, as the Hatch Act prohibits me from going any further, we certainly think that this is something that the people of Alabama should decide, and I’m not going to be able to weigh in anything further beyond those comments.”

Asked if Trump would support a Republican write-in candidate against Jones, Sanders said “our position hasn’t changed over the weekend.”

Challenged separately that Conway’s comments suggested “she had a clear suggestion over who they should vote for,” referring to Alabama voters, Sanders said: “I’m giving you the answer of the position of the White House. ”

Though the White House said in a statement following the Post’s reporting that Moore should “step aside” if the allegations against him “are true,” Trump has not said whether he believes the allegations or not.

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A lawyer for White House adviser Jared Kushner on Sunday defended his client against a bipartisan letter from the Senate Judiciary Committee that claimed Kushner had failed to turn over documents relevant to their probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

“In my communications with the Senate Judiciary Committee, I said, take these documents and let’s talk about what else is relevant,” the attorney, Abbe Lowell, told CNN. “They jumped the gun to make it a media event.”

On Thursday, Judiciary Committee Chair Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) wrote to Lowell regarding his turning over of a collection of documents that “appears to have been incomplete.”

Grassley and Feinstein outlined missing September 2016 emails to Kushner about Wikileaks, an email forwarded to Kushner about a “Russian backdoor overture and dinner invite” and communications with Sergei Millian, the president of the Russian American Chamber of Commerce, on which Kushner is copied.

The Atlantic recently revealed that Donald Trump Jr. was in communication with Wikileaks during the 2016 campaign.

Lowell acknowledged Friday, responding to the committee’s letter, that in one email message to Kushner, “there is a reference to one of these people suggesting an idea that somewhere, sometime (before the words ‘Russia’ or ‘Putin’ were politically charged or relevant in the campaign), someone thought candidate Trump should visit Russia.”

But, Lowell claimed Friday and again Sunday, that Kushner responded by saying the campaign should “pass” on such a meeting.

“[I]f you look at the content of these emails, he’s the hero,” Lowell said of Kushner Sunday. “He’s the one who’s saying there shouldn’t be any contacts with foreign officials or foreign entities. That’s what the Senate Judiciary Committee should pay attention to and not create some sort of partisan gotcha game.”

Lowell said separately: “The committee investigations, unfortunately, are devolving into political gotcha games. If committees selectively leak parts of interviews, or send me letters through the media, or turn Jared Kushner’s very clear email that there should be no contacts with anybody in a foreign country into what they call is a missing document, then they are undermining their own credibility.”

CNN’s Evan Perez, who conducted the interview with Lowell Sunday, noted that the attorney did not promise that Kushner would do an interview with the Senate Judiciary Committee, nor did he promise to hand over any more specific documents.

The Judiciary Committee’s letter Thursday also requested that Kushner fulfill requests for his security clearance application documents, which he has amended multiple times to reflect previously undisclosed meetings with Russian nationals, as well as documents concerning his communications with ousted National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.

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White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Friday once again refused to say whether President Donald Trump believed the accusations against U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore.

Asked about Moore, Sanders pointed to a statement the White House released last week, when revelations of sexual misconduct against Moore were first published in the Washington Post.

Leigh Corfman said Moore tried to initiate sexual contact with her when she was 14 and he was 32. Since then, numerous women have accused Moore of misconduct and assault, mostly when they were teenagers. Moore has denied any wrongdoing and has vowed to stay in the race.

Trump, through a White House statement, said last week that Moore should step aside if the allegations are true. He still hasn’t said whether he thinks they are, instead passing the decision on to Alabama voters.

“Can you tell us whether the President believes the women who are making these allegations against Roy Moore?” CNN’s Sara Murray asked. “And would he be willing to ask the Alabama governor to delay the election or take a step like that to try to intervene in this electoral process in Alabama?”

“The President certainly finds the allegations extremely troubling, as I stated yesterday,” Sanders responded, without answering the initial question. “And he feels like it’s up to the governor and the people in the state of Alabama to make a determination on whether or not they delay that election or whether or not they support and vote for Roy Moore.”

When asked earlier about the difference between Trump and Sen. Al Franken (D-MN), who was accused by a radio news anchor Thursday of forcibly kissing her and groping her while on a USO tour, Sanders pointed to Franken’s apology.

“Senator Franken has admitted wrongdoing and the President hasn’t,” she said. “I think that’s a very clear distinction.”

Sanders separately repeated, when asked, the White House’s line that the numerous women accusing the President of sexual harassment and assault are lying.

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