Meet Mike Conaway, GOP Congressman Now Overseeing House's Russia Probe

The committee of ethics, the guardian of congressmen's ethical behaviour, which is led by a Republican and a Democrat, said it is looking into "certain allegations of unauthorised disclosure of classified information".

The change in leadership is driven by accusations that Nunes mishandled classified information. Now, we've learned through subsequent reports that the information he got which he said involved the USA sweeping up Trump administration or then Trump transition aides and potentially Trump himself in surveillance of foreign persons overseas might have included some of the names of the people involved with that.

"My profession as a CPA and auditor has taught me to be objective and methodical, and that is how I intend to help lead this investigation", he said, adding that he is confident he and the top Democrat on the panel, California Rep. Adam Schiff, "will be able to work together to conduct an effective, bipartisan investigation". They say they want to take the baton from Nunes on a temporary basis, as I mentioned, and make this about the unmasking of these names and the surveillance they say might have been done by the former national security adviser, Susan Rice, under President Obama.

"In the meantime, it is clear that this process would be a distraction for the House Intelligence Committee's investigation into Russian interference in our election".

His nonfeasance became possible malfeasance with a cloak-and-dagger visit to the White House last month.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes said Thursday he's temporarily stepping aside from the Russian Federation probe amid accusations he may have improperly disclosed classified information.

"I have been a member of the House Intelligence Committee for over eight years now, and it is a responsibility I take with the utmost seriousness".

Mr Nunes came under fire last month after he announced that he believed Mr Trump or members of his transition team may have been "incidentally" caught up in foreign surveillance by United States spy agencies.

"The charges are ... being levelled just as the American people are beginning to learn the truth about the improper unmasking of the identities of USA citizens and other abuses of power". Rep. Conaway with help from Rep. Trey Gowdy of SC and Rep. Tom Rooney of Florida, will temporarily take charge of the investigation, said Speaker Paul Ryan.

The Office of Congressional Ethics, or OCE, would not comment on whether it was pursing an investigation.

Two ethics watchdog groups filed complaints about the chairman of the House intelligence committee, Republican Devin Nunes of California.

The longtime Texas Republican tapped to lead the House probe into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election is more familiar quietly working on agriculture issues.

The ethics probe came just weeks after Nunes and other Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee used a public hearing with FBI Director James Comey to decry leaks of classified intelligence to the media that have fueled concern about Trump's ties to Russian Federation and led to the ouster of former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

House Republican leaders, including speaker Paul Ryan, praised Nunes.

Two of the four people who signed the March 28 letter alleging ethics violations served as White House counsels in Republican and Democratic administrations. "He continues to have that trust, and I know he is eager to demonstrate to the Ethics Committee that he has followed all proper guidelines and laws".

In a short statement, Mr. Nunes blasted against unspecified "leftwing activist groups" who filed unspecified accusations which, although unspecified, were also "false".

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  • Larry Hoffman