Five days after the House ethics committee charged Rep. Charlie Rangel with possible violations, and Rangel professed to be "looking forward" to fighting the charges in a public trial, the congressman is reportedly trying to do a last minute deal:
A settlement would mean that Rangel must agree that he committed some ethical misconduct. The ethics committee's trial phase was due to start Thursday. Rangel stepped down earlier this year as chairman of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee because of an earlier ethics charge. A settlement would spare him the embarrassing ethics trial.
The trial portion of Rangel's ordeal was to start this Thursday, where specific charges against him would be released. At least one Democratic colleague has called for Rangel's resignation.
In a major development, Rep. Betty Sutton (D-Ohio) on Friday night called on beleaguered Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) to resign. Sutton's statement comes one day after the House ethics committee charged the 80-year-old Democrat with multiple violations.
I was hoping Rangel's stubborn sense of entitlement would lead him to parade his misdeeds for all to see instead of sewing this up in private. It's Pelosi vs. Rangel. Who will win?
As I reported last week, there are two possible paths to take here: Traficant or DeLay. The Traficant path leads to likely expulsion from the House if the committee does indeed find that Rangel violated House ethics rules. Already moderate Dems are starting to call for him to resign. The DeLay route skips the trial and goes right to censure and apology. The Congressional Black Caucus is defending Rangel, saying every member has the right to prove his/her innocence even if it comes at an inconvenient time for the rest of the caucus. The clock is ticking with the hearing set for tomorrow. We shall see who wins out: Rangel's stubbornness or Pelosi's sheer will.