Midland Congressman Mike Conaway in Charge of Russia Investigation
Apr 15, 2017, 10:42
After a week of ignoring calls from both Republicans and Democrats for him to step down from an inquiry into alleged Russian collusion in the United States election, Devin Nunes said on Thursday that he was recusing himself from the probe.
Nunes remains the chairman of the intelligence committee after stepping down from the Russian Federation investigation, which Republican congressman Trey Gowdy and Tom Rooney will help Conaway lead. House Intelligence Committee's doing an investigation.
Nunes did not disclose details of the allegations.
In a statement, Nunes said he chose to recuse himself after a number of "left-wing activist groups" submitted complaints to the Office of Congressional Ethics criticizing his leadership.
Nunes said in his statement that he has requested to speak to the House Ethics Committee "at the earliest possible opportunity in order to expedite the dismissal of these false claims".
Last month Trump accused, without providing evidence, former President Barack Obama of illegally wire-tapping him, and Trump asked the congressional committees to look into this as part of the investigations. Nunes' decision to present intelligence gathered by the White House, nearly derailed the House investigation, but instead Nunes was forced aside.
Nunes said that Rep. Mike Conaway, R-Texas, with assistance from Reps.
The groups say Nunes publicly disclosed information he learned by viewing classified material.
Chairman Nunes has offered to step aside as the lead Republican on this probe, and I fully support this decision. He will remain chairman of the full committee.
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The House Ethics Committee released a statement acknowledging the investigation, though it cautioned it "does not itself indicate that any violation has occurred, or reflect any judgment on behalf of the Committee".
"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", Ryan said. Nunes himself at one point said during his March 22 news conference that what he was discussing was "all classified information".
After that disclosure, several watchdog and activist organizations filed complaints with the Office of Congressional Ethics asking for an investigation into whether Nunes violated House rules.
The House now must strive to ensure that the joke is not on the House and that a serious investigation of Russian involvement in the United States elections takes place.
Nunes steps down with most Democrats and Republicans focused on different facets of the investigation. In a statement, she called his recusal "long overdue" and said he "had no business leading the investigation into the Trump-Russia connection". On two previous occasions, he made light of the investigations by comparing the Russian cyber attacks on Democratic officials to Mexican entertainers campaigning for Hillary Clinton and then comparing Russian alliances to Big 12 football loyalties.
"Those are foreign actors, foreign people, influencing the vote in Nevada", Conaway told the Dallas Morning News.
During the committee's first hearing on the Russian Federation probe last month, his questions were focused on how intelligence agencies prove who is behind a hack and what a foreign leader's "intent" is.
Nunes said that it was in the intelligence committee's best interests for him to hand over leadership of the probe to Conaway during the ethics panel's inquiry.
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