House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes announced Thursday he is temporarily ceding leadership of the committee’s investigation into Russia’s election interference, citing accusations from “several leftwing activist groups” filed with the Office of Congressional Ethics.
Rep. Michael Conaway (R-Texas), with help from Reps. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) and Tom Rooney (R-Fla.) will take over the investigation into Russian influence on the 2016 election, including connections to the Trump campaign, Nunes said in his statement.
Recent complaints filed with the Office of Congressional Ethics alleged that Nunes had failed to properly discuss classified material after meeting at the White House about findings from the investigation. Nunes had also sparked controversy when he briefed President Donald Trump that some of his or his associates’ communications might have been “incidentally” collected by American surveillance.
“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 US citizens and other abuses of power,” Nunes’ statement said.
Nunes added he will retain his other responsibilities as chairman as he seeks to have the accusations dismissed.
Speaker Paul Ryan, in a statement, called the ethics charges a “distraction” and said he supported Nunes’ decision to step aside.
“I know he is eager to demonstrate to the Ethics Committee that he has followed all proper guidelines and laws,” Ryan said.
This is a breaking news story and will be updated.