Update at 3 p.m. ET: As you'll see below, Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., announced today that he's stepping down -- at least temporarily -- as chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. Here's how the story played out:
Under fire for going on a corporate-sponsored trip to the Caribbean and other possible transgressions, Rep. Charles Rangel is going to take a "leave of absence" from his role as chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, NBC News is reporting.
Rangel, D-N.Y., is expected to hold a news conference at 9 a.m. ET.
NBC says it has gotten word of Rangel's decision from "two Democratic sources."
CNN just tweeted that it too has learned that Rangel will "temporarily step down as chairman."
Update at 8:59 a.m. ET. Rangel just confirmed the news.
"In order to avoid my colleagues having to defend me during their elections," he told reporters on Capitol Hill, he has asked Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., "to grant me a leave of absence (from his chairmanship) until such time as the Ethics Committee completes its work."
He declined to take questions.
Update at 9:38 a.m. ET. Rangel's letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., is posted here. It's short:
"I respectfully request a leave of absence from my duties and responsibilities as Chairman of the Committee on Ways and Means until such time as the Committee on Standards completes its findings on the review currently underway."
Update at 9:55 a.m. ET. Courtesy of the Associated Press, here is the video of Rangel announcing his decision: