Nunes recuses himself from Russian Federation probe

Devin Nunes, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, questions FBI Director James Comey and National Security Agency Director Mike Rogers during a hearing into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 us election, on Capitol Hill in Washington, March 20.

"Several left wing activists groups have filed accusations against me with the Office of Congressional Ethics", Nunes said in a statement on Thursday.

Democrats have alleged that Republican Mr Nunes, who was on President Donald Trump's transition team, is too close to the White House and can not lead an impartial inquiry.

Nunes said in a statement that he chose to recuse himself after "several leftwing activist groups" filed complaints with the Office of Congressional Ethics about his leadership.

Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) stepped down as chairman of the House Intelligence Committee's Russian Federation investigation and blamed the activists on the left for his recusal.

Libowitz also says Nunes did the right thing by stepping aside from the House intelligence committee's investigation into contacts between Trump associates and Russian Federation.

Now, the congressman said, with this "bullsh**" ethics committee complaint against Nunes.

In a statement, the House Ethics Committee cited its "institutional obligation" to investigate "unauthorized disclosures of classified information".

The incident cast a cloud over the committee's investigations into Russian interference in the USA election.

Nunes did not disclose details of the allegations.

Rep. Jim Himes, a Connecticut Democrat, told reporters they heard from committee staff about the documents, but he declined to get into the details of what they show.

He added he will continue fulfilling other duties with the committee and wants to talk to the ethics committee as soon as possible to defend himself.

The House investigation has been rocked by turmoil since FBI Director James Comey announced in late March that the FBI has been investigating possible collusion between top aides of Trump's campaign and Russian officials who sought to sway the USA election.

At issue is an at-the-time secret trip Nunes took the White House last month in which he was briefed the incidental collection of information from Trump campaign officials as the result of a surveillance program directed at foreign nationals.

In Cummings' statement, he also pointed out that he had sent a letter last week to White House counsel Donald McGahn and national security adviser H.R. McMaster "asking when they became aware that their own staff members reportedly contacted House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, facilitated his entry into the White House complex, and provided him with access to review classified information". Top Democrats have called for him to recuse himself since it was revealed he collected his intelligence on the White House grounds, but Nunes had resisted those calls until now.

The fact that Bunes has been replaced by two fellow members of the committee, including "Benghazi" Trey Gowdy is not a great sign for the hope of a non-partisan investigation, but the departure of Nunes will allow the investigation to resume. "Chairman Nunes has offered to step aside as the lead Republican on this probe, and I fully support this decision", Ryan said. Libowitz says the group is encouraged by the House Ethics Committee launching an investigation. "You don't hear the Democrats screaming and saying one word about that".

Nunes will continue to serve as the committee's chairman and remain involved in other matters before the panel.

As the majority party in the House, Republicans will keep the committee chairmanship.

In January, after the election, United States intelligence chiefs said they had concluded that Russian President Vladimir Putin had masterminded the effort to damage Clinton.

  • Salvatore Jensen