Representative Devin Nunes will no longer lead the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation into Russian interference in last year’s election amid allegations that he broke congressional rules by disclosing classified information.
The California Republican announced abruptly on Thursday he would step aside from the inquiry while the House Ethics Committees investigates his actions. “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,” Nunes said in a statement. In a separate statement issued moments later, Speaker Paul Ryan said he backed the decision and the Representative Mike Conaway of Texas would now lead the Intelligence Committee’s investigation. Nunes will remain chairman of the full committee.
Devin Nunes has earned my trust over many years for his integrity and dedication to the critical work that the intelligence community does to keep America safe. 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 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.
At a press conference, Ryan reiterated that he still had confidence in Nunes’s leadership of the Intelligence Committee, but the chairman’s sudden move to quit the Russia probe raises questions about whether he misled the speaker about his handling of evidence that he viewed at the White House.