House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes steps down from Russian Federation probe
15 April, 2017, 10:42 | Author: Brian Mcdaniel
Devin Nunes, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, announced on Thursday he was recusing himself from the investigation his panel is conducting into alleged links between Trump campaign aides and Russian Federation.
Nunes lit a storm of controversy last month when he briefed President Trump about details of the Russian Federation investigation - a probe that partly examines Trump's ties to Moscow - without first informing the other members of the full committee.
Russian Federation denies the allegations, which Trump also dismisses.
The Hill reported Nunes issued a statement claiming liberal groups have filed "entirely false and politically motivated" accusations against him with the Office of Congressional Ethics.
He says he will continue fulfilling other duties with the committee and wants to talk to the ethics committee as soon as possible to defend himself.
Trump sparked a controversy in early March when he tweeted, without giving evidence, that Obama had wiretapped him while the NY businessman competed with Democrat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential race. Nunes decision, Schiffsaid, represents an opportunity to put the House investigation "fully back on track" and "move forward in the unified and nonpartisan way that an investigation of this seriousness demands".
Democrats have accused Nunes of coordinating with the White House about those reports, and suggested that in talking about them publicly, he might be releasing classified information.
US House Speaker Paul Ryan, the most senior Republican in the House of Representatives, said Mr Nunes still has his trust but he supports his decision to step aside.
As the majority party in the House, Republicans will keep the committee chairmanship. Adam Schiff, the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, have called for Nunes to recuse himself from the investigation or step down as chairman.
Nunes first came under fire last month when he broke protocol to announce that Trump and his associates may have been "incidentally" surveilled by the Justice Department as part of its ongoing investigation, and that he would be presenting his evidence to the president.
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Nunes will continue to serve as the committee's chairman and remain involved in other matters before the panel.
"We need to have an independent, credible investigation that makes progress", representative Eric Swalwell, a Democratic committee member, said in an interview.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is hopeful that Nunes's recusal will lead to a less biased investigation into Russia's alleged interference with the United States election.
Left-leaning groups like MoveOn.org and Center for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington immediately filed claims with the Office of Congressional Ethics, claiming that Nunes had violated the Espionage Act.
Trump praised Nunes as "honourable", calling both him and Conaway "high-quality" people in comments to reporters travelling to Florida on Air Force One.
Conaway ascendance immediately drew attention to his statement earlier this year expressing skepticism about the subject of the investigation.
"Those are foreign actors, foreign people, influencing the vote in Nevada", Conaway told the Dallas Morning News. The committee confirmed it is now investigating the guy who was heading the investigation.
Still, he added that despite the "baseless of these charges" he would be stepping aside, and Representative Mike Conaway, along assistance from Representatives Trey Gowdy and Tom Rooney, would temporarily take charge of the investigation.
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