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House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA), has announced that he will step aside from leading his committee’s investigation into Russia’s efforts to disrupt last year’s presidential election.
The California Republican’s recusal comes amid reports that the House Committee on Ethics said an investigation into Nunes had begun do to public reports that he “may have made unauthorized disclosures of classified information.”
Mr. Nunes said that his decision came after “left-wing activist groups” filed accusations against him with the Office of Congressional Ethics. He called the charges “entirely false and politically motivated,” but he said it was in the committee’s best interests for him to temporarily step aside from the investigation, reports the New York Times (NYT).
Co-chairman of the House Intel Committee Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) has said that Nunes’ decision was made in the “best interests of the investigation,” according to NYT.
“It will allow us to have a fresh start moving forward,” he told reporters, per NYT.
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 American spy agencies. He cited “dozens” of intelligence reports he described as classified, which The New York Times later revealed had been provided to him by White House officials, said the NYT.