House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) will recuse himself from all matters related to the committee’s investigation into Russia’s alleged meddling in the 2016 presidential election, the congressman announced Thursday, April 6.
In a statement, Nunes said he decided to recuse himself after a number of “left-wing activist groups” submitted complaints to the Office of Congressional Ethics criticizing his leadership. He called the charges “entirely false and politically motivated” but said it would be best for the committee if he temporarily stepped down from the investigation.
The announcement came the same morning the House Committee on Ethics disclosed that Nunes was under investigation due to reports claiming he might have made “unauthorized disclosures of classified information,” The New York Times reported. Nunes said he planned to speak with the committee “at the earliest possible opportunity” to hasten the dismissal of the false claims.
For now, Rep. Michael K. Conway (R-Tex) will spearhead the Russia investigation with help from Reps. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) and Thomas J. Rooney (R-Fla).
Nunes came under fire last month after he obtained classified documents he said indicated that Trump and members of his team had been “incidentally” swept up in U.S. intelligence surveillance of foreign officials. He then ran to Trump with the documents, provided to him by two White House officials, before consulting with other members of the intelligence committee, presenting a clear conflict of interest.
Politicians on both sides of the aisle have since questioned Nunes’ impartiality in the investigation to determine whether Trump and his associates were in cahoots with Russian efforts to influence the presidential election.