Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) will temporarily step down from participating in the investigation into Russian influence in the 2016 election. The House Intelligence Committee Chairman will no longer be a part of the process that looks into interactions between Moscow and the Trump campaign. This decision came after the House Ethics Committee announced that it would investigate allegations that Nunes might have mishandled classified information. The move of the Ethics Committee formally getting involved made it highly unlikely that Nunes could continue to oversee the Russia probe. But he will remain in his position as Chairman of the Intelligence Committee. Reps. Michael Conaway (R-Texas), Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) and Tom Rooney (R-Fla.) will take over the leadership of the investigation.
Devin Nunes had this to say about those who filed complaints with the Office of Congressional Ethics, “Several left-wing activist groups have filed accusations against me with the Office of Congressional Ethics. The charges are entirely false and politically motivated, and are being leveled just as the American people are beginning to learn the truth about the improper unmasking of the identities of U.S. citizens and other abuses of power.” Nunes added: “Despite the baselessness of the charges, I believe it is in the best interests of the House Intelligence Committee and the Congress for me to have Representative Mike Conaway, with assistance from Representatives Trey Gowdy and Tom Rooney, temporarily take charge of the Committee’s Russia investigation while the House Ethics Committee looks into this matter. I will continue to fulfill all my other responsibilities as Committee Chairman, and I am requesting to speak to the Ethics Committee at the earliest possible opportunity to expedite the dismissal of these false claims.”
The Ethics Committee Chairwoman, Susan Brooks (R-Ind.) and Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) said in a joint statement, “The Committee is aware of public allegations that Representative Devin Nunes may have made unauthorized disclosures of classified information, in violation of House Rules, law, regulations, or other standards of conduct. The Committee, pursuant to Committee Rule 18(a), is investigating and gathering more information regarding these allegations.”
Leading Democrat on the intelligence panel, Rep. Adam Schiff, said that he believes Nunes’ decision will give the committee a “fresh start” on the Russia probe and hopes to get fully “back on track.” Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said in a statement that Nunes “continues to have [my] trust, and I know he is eager to demonstrate to the Ethics Committee that he has followed all proper guidelines and laws. In the meantime, it is clear that this [ethics] process would be a distraction for the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation into Russian interference in our election.”
What do you think about Nunes’ decision to step down?