House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes has temporarily stepped aside from investigating the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election, including if there were any ties between Donald Trump’s campaign and the Russian government.
The California congressman released this statement Thursday.
“Several leftwing activist groups have filed accusations against me with the Office of Congressional Ethics,” Nunes said. “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.”
“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 in order to expedite the dismissal of these false claims.” (RELATED: Nunes Will Not Disclose Intelligence Sources To Other Members Of His Panel)
Shortly after Nunes stepped aside, the House Ethics Committee announced it is investigating allegations that Nunes may have disclosed intelligence without proper authorization.
Ethics Committee Chairwoman Susan Brooks and ranking member Rep. Ted Deutch said this 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,” Brooks and Deutch said. “The Committee, pursuant to Committee Rule 18(a), is investigating and gathering more information regarding these allegations.”
“The Committee has determined to investigate these allegations in order to fulfill its institutional obligation.”