Transcript for 'The Briefing Room': Rep. John Conyers steps down
And happy you they welcome to the briefing room coming here for the Washington bureau ABC news I'm John can't hear key along with the deputy political director Mary Alice parks. How is only Tuesday we've had so everything's going on this we call Laurie wolf last week. And it seemed to be here and it is it going and going and going to be over that's right that is the pace of news are in effect manhunt now I'm really not there at all like you wanna die operating here because we do another thing happening for the end of the year. A special election. Down Alabama Roy Moore Doug Jones the battle keeps going. Lot of questions in the briefing room to date first error because the president actually now. Totally reversed course came out endorsed him he sent the RNC in did you fund raising for them on the ground they're going to be there. This is a complete 180 and really stunning also because you have so many members of congress saying this Cutler and be a lot in the front door. Right you have Republican senators basically saying if he was elected and we're to be elected then they should basically work to expel the soonest he arrived they now totally. Watts back pat languished. And hand their part that Brady never how hard to will have to meet Sarah scanners really. Still struggling to witness this painful laboratory a gymnastics trying to explain how in the world the White House can both say. That of the accusations against ring more true he should step aside. But not call the women liars when they're now endorsing him look at how can you haven't both weigh in right you either believe the women. Or you don't and if you're saying that you endorse him essentially your calling them liars and they are shall rumbling. To come. How looking. I'm looking hasn't because because there is just continues me backlash against this endorsement. And niece who are also on Sunday with George leader sent Mitch McConnell actually. Walking back what he set right the fact that the senate would expel this guy and you worry more he ends up winning down there. But now seeing that we know we need him and here means a complete want to eat when we're seeing so many more people come forward as part of this mean to campaign. And the fact that they would flip on is it really is quite stunning and and completely politically motivated. Oh absolutely and you sock. She made mention there of all murder charges other allegations against other politicians and I think that's where this. Sort of why can damage this because she understand her and her team and the president understand that now there were so many allegations. Against so many politicians and it was a lot of noise and that provided some political cover to back it. And overnight at least where the RNC came out actually reversing course they are now going to be sending money and support down help Roy Moore. Let's go up to Capitol Hill where ABC's Alley Rogen. Has been getting Wilbur the mood of what the reaction is up their Alley. A lot of senators that you and the team we're talking to over the last couple weeks. Very clear that they did not want to see Roy Moore become a member of the United States senate what happens now. Yet to question John there seems to have been something going on we don't know yet what it whether it was a conference wide meeting or a conference call that the president. Or something that the message has changed up here on Capitol Hill as you mentioned as early as late as last week senators. We're saying that they would not want to serve with a wry more than they he should drop out and if he doesn't drop out. He should immediately begin the process of of getting. Expelled potentially. In a process led by the senate ethics committee now folks. They're not. Doing a complete waning and that they're still maintaining that position but they're emphasizing. The fact that they are not Alabama voters and therefore they don't have a vote in this. And that is up to the people of Alabama to decide and that they hope the people of Alabama do the right thing so it's not a complete. Disavow all of their previous positions they still say they don't want Roy Moore but they're saying now wells literally up to us we hope the people of Alabama do the right thing. And let's gore to the White House where ABC's Jordan helped to just watching that briefing with us in Jordan. You know we were talking about the president meet that news right before the Thanksgiving holiday he stopped he was questioned by reporters. Finally jumped into this making a comment about Roy Moore saying this was forty years ago. Now we seen this quick escalation of the president endorsing him on Twitter the RNC throwing money. But Sarah Sanders is Mary Alice pointed out adding a very tough time. Not only dealing with these accusations by. That looked female accusers. With the judge but also some of the past eight since he is an eight. Yeah it's sinners in a tough spot here right I mean she has to you. You know support the president's agenda but she has to be you know more cautious and the president. We're used to seeing the president you know make these sort of outrageous comments Aaron standards. Is that they're speaking from the White House podium and asked to be more cautious. By T saying the president doesn't necessarily sport. I'm every opinion and out of Roy Moore but he isn't endorsing him Karen making a calculated political decision to to back him. And you know I would you wanted them acoustic on this topic but switching gears a little bit here we did see. The first member of congress he says retire let's call it what it is resign today John Conyers from Michigan. Actually stepping down one of the longest serving members of that. How's the first to actually step aside cost these allegations. You know we note seen several other members of the house. Question Al Franken over in the senate. But you know who will look just go through this year the group here for second I think it's actually tell showed the need to movement. Is having progress here we haven't seen anybody getting out of Capitol Hill Mary Alice until today. And I think it's important to mar that each one of these cases is really different. Connors with 88 years old there's a lot of questions I whether he was going to run again regardless. I'm an and they are also very specific asks a settlement that and was it. Dealing with his case which made it just really hard for him to to explain ring any actions people were. Outraged to learn that money had been paid in this instance and I was part of what made his case so serious that's very different than some of the other stories on the other allegations and accusations and other members. And then that fund Alley that Mary Alice just mentioned in this is the find. That had multiple millions of dollars in it were paid out. Two congressional aides for the last several years we know that ABC's Justin official reported last week one of the largest. Payouts was just under a 100000 dollars I mean what what does this tell us right now about where this movement is going on Capitol Hill in light of Conyers today. Presiding at a point out that I believe John Conyers settlement was paid out of his own pocket not out of that so called pledged find. But you're absolutely right this is a taxpayer funded. Settlements. Opportunity for members of congress who want to settle outside. The core process or the investigation process. And while congressman Conyers became the first guy to actually step aside today. There are still a lot of other. Members of congress who have come under scrutiny among them. A Nevada that freshman who is sort of hand picked by Harry Reid his cursing driven and I'm gonna butchered it lasting that I try to say it's I'm not even gonna bother. But there is a growing call high end among Democrats for basically for his hat and so the big question I think here is. That you're going to steal a lot of subjective. Sort of it. Ways to deal with this there is no standard in the probably shouldn't be one particular standard but. But what you've heard the conversation. In recent days has been about you know. What degree he did senator congressman acts do something bad and rescission couldn't get a little. Icky basically butt but that's a conversation that needs to happen. Alley Rogan on Capitol Hill thank you as always we appreciate it if you're just joining us is the briefing your money DC. I'm Janice and teach you alongside Mary Alice parks our deputy political director and. The other piece in use their horns focusing in. What did Michael Flynn know when did he know it and now that we saw end of last week he's. Cooperating with federal authorities he's pleading guilty to lying earlier this year to them. How does this impact this investigation by Robert Mueller going forward and the white. House while it's obviously one of the biggest bombshell so far I mean it has changed everything this is something that this White House was. Worried about from day one. They've said that they don't believe that plan has the story to tell but there's a lot of speculation that that is exactly why he took. Some form of an agreement but I thought it was really telling there and that. In that press briefing this air standards immediately. Took all questions to clean and pitted them. Back to lawyers she did not say I don't know when this happened I don't know I'm not aware of any conversation I'm not aware of when the president knew one or what he knew. She sent basically I understand he's a tough legal questions and I'm not gonna speak to that and. And things got for us we know someone who's been talking point from lawyers Jordan felt. Over at the White House he Jordan to just break this down for as little bit because he had a lot of different legal opinions among that from legal team John doubt that from personal attorneys we represents just the president. And Ty Cobb. Who's the White House lawyer assigned to handle all inquiries related to the mall corporal aren't too opposite ends of the universe yours to get out. Had told you earlier this week. That the president could not be charged we it a crime. Because he is the chief law enforcement officer of the United States Ty Cobb Jordan seasoning very different to us today. Yep that's right I have tech comes statement here he says there is no strategy at which I am aware. To rely boldly on proclamation that obstruction is always impossible with regard to the president. I so Ty Cobb they are directly contradicting. What we have heard friend John Dowd earlier over the weekends now. Down does not want and get into a back and forth but he does steamy night. I hid in an initial statement air. And you know this is a fascinating argument because it evokes memories a mix and he'll argue that if the president doesn't it's not a week gulf. And but of course we're not really sure what the strategy is at this point because tight content the main lawyer here at the white house on this issue. Saying that's really not the strategy. Itself so if it is it say it's an interesting one it's a unique one high it's been. I shot down by a lot of legal experts. Are ready John. Yeah and and it is free art Giordano you know I've spoken to members little to me you have as well. I think we can both agree it's pretty odd to see lawyers among that teen disagreeing with each other publicly. They've been pretty good at working in lock step here on the investigation I like. But like with everything at some prints are in this case it might not come down to what the president's can be charged rent. But whether or not he is essentially I'm accused of committing a crime at a special counsel and then what congress does with that information. Right and that's the important thing Judi is there are two different investigations going on here and Jordan that this notion that I was asked this Aaron should go back to lawyers on. You know we've been hearing from the lawyers that this is all in their minds going to be wrapped up from the White House's perspective but ended the year right. Yeah I mean though the White House send in the lawyers keep expressing confidence that this is going to be wrapped up soon but. I didn't Robert Mueller is not operating under any deadline here and there is no indication. I and that this is wrapping up any time seeing. I think that that legal team can make a case for is that it does seem that Mueller seen at is wrapping up their initial interviews at least. An inner circle around trumps out in that sense and they they might be moving to the next phase. But certainly not the end if you were in the end we wouldn't have seen. That big guilty plea with Michael plane on Friday certainly word kindness and Massey. And definitely gonna go on to twenty team is it here comes to an end last topic for us today. Which are kinda touched on but didn't really want to go into because. Of what we're expecting possibly tomorrow is news from the president about the United States embassy in Israel it's been in Tel Aviv's Mary Alice. Would be huge if the president announces that it could move to Jerusalem. Reading this was what was seen as sort of a small campaign promise because it has. One of many big campaign promise is. But let's not make any mistake in my best small line and a campaign speech it would have huge. International complications and it's a big to him ball. With possible national security risks and meanness here's dinners was asked today when the president had been briefed. I'm whether this can incite violence in the area. And I think that experts and and national security advisors are really wondering how this fits into a larger. Planned for that area. And we should make clear that it's unclear yet exactly what the White House is and you re expecting what kind of timeline are renal figure all that's Marva Jordan that back to you on this real quick. How this is been one of the signature issues for the president's son in law and senior advisor Jared Kushner. That's right John and and you have to wonder what they can do something that they thought was going to undermine those bigger negotiations that. That Sharon is meeting to try to make a bigger piece deal here so. Clearly at it we seem like. Act has some that this could be a step back I that this could be counterproductive to a bigger piece don't think clearly the trump team in their calculation if in fact this is what they're going to deal. Think that this will actually help they're please app parts. At least that's what you have to didn't dealers from the front and presumably taking this action. We will wait and see tomorrow's going to be a busy day kinda like every day this week why would it be any different. Jordan Phelps of the White House thank you for all varsity BC thanks for joining us on the briefing room for Mary Alice parks. An Alley Rogen I'm John San Suu Kyi for all the latest from ABC you download BBC news app or go online abcnews.com. Next time there's a briefing will be back. For now have a very tech.
This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.