Twenty Democrats on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, including ranking member Rep. Eliot Engel (NY-16), have called for Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) to be recused by Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) from the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation into ties between Trump campaign and transition officials and Russia.
Nunes has come under fire for meeting with White House officials to view classified documents related to whether Trump or members of his team were under surveillance for Russian links. He also purportedly briefed Trump on the work of his committee, as well as relayed mischaracterized or misleading info regarding the documents to the media.
“Chairman Nunes’ recusal is critical in order to preserve the integrity and independence of the U.S. House of Representatives,” they wrote in a Tuesday letter to Ryan.
“Congress must come together in a bipartisan fashion to understand the nature of this attack and the scope of Russian ties to [President Trump’s 2016] campaign, transition team and presidential administration,” they added.
“This is about country, not party. Chairman Nunes has demonstrated his bias, and the public will no longer accept the results of this probe as legitimate under his leadership.”
The letter also quoted from Senate Republicans who have criticized Nunes:
Due to these actions and his role on the Trump transition team, Chairman Nunes has lost the faith of the public to carry out an investigation in an honest, transparent and bipartisan fashion.
Republican Senator John McCain said, “If we’re really going to get to the bottom of these things, it’s got to be done in a bipartisan fashion. And as far as I could tell, Congressman Nunes killed that.” His colleague Senator Lindsey Graham said, “If he’s not willing to tell the Democrats and Republicans on the committee who he met with and what he was told, has has lost his ability to lead,” and added, “The House is off track and probably can’t get back on track.”
This inquiry will not be credible if Nunes remains at the helm.
The only signature missing from Democrats on the committee was Rep. Ted Deutch (FL-21), for unclear reasons. He has separately called for an independent investigation into the matter, in his capacity as ranking member on the House Ethics Committee.
Ranking Democrat Rep. Adam Schiff (CA-28) of the House Intelligence Committee has also been a fierce critic of Nunes, charging that intelligence was “laundered” through him at the White House’s behest, and that Nunes was trying to control and keep information from other members of the committee.