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Nunes Steps Down

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After weeks of controversy, California Congressman Devin Nunes (R) has agreed to step away from his post at the House Permanent Committee on Intelligence for the duration of the investigation into Russian ties to the Trump campaign. The congressman has faced increased scrutiny and criticism for the way that he has handled classified information and the manner in which he received it. It was reported that several weeks ago, he received classified information. He then shared that with the White House before he talked to Ranking Member Adam Schiff (D-Ca) or members of the committee.

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But the controversy did not end there. Where did Nunes get this information? Why did he share it with the White House before he even talked to his Democratic counterpoint? What was up with his strange visit to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and his subsequent press conference? None of it made any sense and none of it made the chairman look good.

By all accounts, the Nunes was in a car with a staff member on March 21. He then made a clandestine trip to the White House where he was given access to some documents. The next day, he held a press conference in which he says that some associates of President Donald Trump’s were included in some intelligence collected under a FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) investigation. He then went back to the White House to brief the president and give a second press conference.

From that point forward, the investigation in the House of Representatives seemed doomed. Nunes’ peculiar actions made it look like any investigation into ties between Trump and Russia was impossible to complete in an impartial and non-pastisan way. This can been widely contrasted against the conduct of the Senate committee that is also investigating the matter.

Nunes faces ethics charges.

Now, it seems, Nunes has decided it is in the best interests of  the committee and the investigation that he step aside. This is most likely because several entities have filed complaints with the House Ethics Committee. The congressman issued this statement:

Several leftwing activist groups have filed accusations against me with the Office of Congressional Ethics. 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. Despite the baselessness of the charges, I believe it is in the best interests of the House Intelligence Committee and the Congress for me to have Representative Mike Conaway, with assistance from Representatives Trey Gowdy and Tom Rooney, temporarily take charge of the Committee’s Russia investigation while the House Ethics Committee looks into this matter. I will continue to fulfill all my other responsibilities as Committee Chairman, and I am requesting to speak to the Ethics Committee at the earliest possible opportunity in order to expedite the dismissal of these false claims.

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