The chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), stepped away from the committee’s investigation into Russia’s participation in the 2016 election cycle as a result of a coordinated political attack by the Left.
Nunes’ announcement came as the House Ethics Committee released a statement disclosing that the committee was investigating public allegations that Nunes made unauthorized disclosure of classified documents.
“This was a coordinated attack by left-wing groups against Nunes,” the source said. “As the Ethics Committee does its inquiry, he could not have other Republican committee members constantly having to defend him instead of focusing on the Russia investigation and particularly the abuse of intelligence through the improper unmasking of Americans’ names for political purposes.”
Nunes was not pushed by House Republican leadership to recuse himself, but it was not helpful to have other Republicans, notably Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) join Democrats in questioning his motives and competence.
Sunday, McCain told Martha Raddatz on ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos” Nunes was hindering congressional efforts to determine how the Russians interfered in the 2016 election cycle, when he communicated with the White House about information he gathered from a whistle blower with informing Democrats on his committee. “If we’re really going to get to the bottom of these things, it’s got to be done in a bipartisan fashion. And as far as I could tell, Congressman Nunes killed that.”
The Los Angeles Times reported March 22 that Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), top Democrat on the the Intel Committee told the paper:
Schiff said he raised his concerns directly with Nunes after the Republican disclosed new information publicly and then to the White House. He stopped short of saying whether Nunes was improperly making classified information public, saying instead that his actions were “beyond irregular.”
Nunes’ actions further demonstrated the need for an independent inquiry into Russia’s actions during the campaign, Schiff said.
“We’re the only investigation there is. If we don’t do it, no one is going to do it,” Schiff said. “Now, perhaps the White House would like it that way. But the American people, I think, want there to be a credible investigation. And if we’re not going to conduct it, then we need to have an independent commission do it.”
The recusal is temporary and as soon as possible, the chairman intends to resume full control of the committee as soon as the House Ethics Committee resolves the charges made by left-wing groups, the source said.
The source said Nunes hopes the Ethics Committee will work on his case during the Easter recess so the investigation can be wrapped up as soon as possible.
Capitol Hill conservatives are now watching to see if Nunes will also recuse himself from the probe into former national security adviser Susan Rice.