House Intel Chairman 'temporarily' steps aside from Russia investigation

| Updated: Apr 07, 2017 03:00 IST

Washington D. C. [USA], Apr. 6 (ANI): House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes announced Thursday that he was temporarily stepping aside from leading the investigation into Russia's meddling in last year's presidential election. Nunes cited a series of ethics complaints filed against him alleging that he violated terms of discussing classified material following his clandestine meeting at the White House just over two weeks ago, reports the CNN. "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," Nunes, a California Republican, said in a statement. He added, "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." Nunes did not directly cite his trip to the White House in his decision, but the ethics complaints stemmed from his visit two weeks ago. Top Democrats have called for him to rescue himself since it was revealed he collected his intelligence on the White House grounds. President Donald Trump elevated Nunes' secret White House visit this week by targeting former national security advisor Susan Rice and saying the evidence he has seen proves former President Barack Obama was spying on him. That evidence, first revealed by Nunes two weeks ago, has become the center of its own power struggle in the Russia investigation - with Democrats accusing the White House of withholding that intelligence from them. Earlier, a day after FBI Director James Comey announced in late March that the agency has been investigating possible collusion between top aides of Trump's campaign and Russian officials, Nunes secretly visited the White House to review evidence that is now at the center of Trump's counter-offensive. (ANI)