Embattled House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes is now facing Democratic calls for his recusal from an investigation into the Trump administration’s ties to Russia, as the inquiry grinds to what is at least a temporary halt.
The California Republican has been on the hot seat since announcing last week that he had vague but significant information about “incidental collection” of information about Trump transition team members by U.S. intelligence agencies. “Incidental collection” is when the communications of someone who is not the target of surveillance are picked up because they are corresponding with a target.
But the revelation, and moreover the manner in which he made it and has conducted himself since, has drawn sharp criticism, including from members of his own committee.
Monday night, Representative Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the committee, called for Nunes to step down from the investigation into, among other things, whether members of the Trump team colluded with Russia to interfere in the presidential election, as well as any look into incidental collection of Trump team members.
“This is not a recommendation I make lightly, as the chairman and I have worked together well for several years,” Schiff said in a statement. “But in much the same way that the attorney general was forced to recuse himself from the Russia investigation after failing to inform the Senate of his meetings with Russian officials, I believe the public cannot have the necessary confidence that matters involving the president’s campaign or transition team can be objectively investigated or overseen by the chairman.”