The House Ethics Committee cleared Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) of allegations that he disclosed classified information pertaining to the Russia investigation – announcing on Thursday that the investigation would be closed following consultation with experts on the classification process.
Nunes – chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, recused himself from the House investigation into Russian interference and alleged collusion with the Trump campaign, after he announced in March that President Trump’s transition team was monitored by U.S. intelligence officials. Nunes immediately came under fire from Democrats who claimed he coordinated the bombshell announcement with the Trump campaign.
After Nunes stepped down, control over the House investigation into the Russia inquiry shifted to Reps. Mike Conaway (R-TX), Tom Rooney (R-FL) and Trey Gowdy (R-SC).
In mid-March, Nunes said that he had seen classified documents which revealed that communications of the Trump transition team were picked up by U.S. intelligence operations between November 2016 and January 2017 – both legally and incidentally. At the time, CNN reported that Nunes visited the White House the day before his announcement to view evidence of the surveillance, further raising questions as to whether or not he had been coordinating with the Trump campaign.
Nunes denied anything was odd about his White House visit – telling CNN’s Wolf Blitzer in late March that it is commonplace for him to travel to the White House to view classified information from various agencies for all sorts of business in his capacity as a congressman.
“Nobody was sneaking around,” Nunes told Blitzer, adding “All it was was just a place where I had to go to be able to review this information. In fact, I’m quite that sure that I think people in the West Wing had no idea that I was there. Look, I go over there a lot, go over there often for meetings and briefings to meet foreign dignitaries, all those sorts of things.”
In a Thursday statement, Nunes thanked the ethics panel “for completely clearing me today of the cloud that was created by this investigation, and for determining that I committed no violation of anything – no violation of House Rules, law, regulations, or any other standards of conduct,” adding “While I appreciate the Ethics Committee’s work, I need to reiterate that the allegations against me were obviously frivolous and were rooted in politically motivated complaints filed against me by left-wing activist groups.”
Nunes then slammed House Democrats on the panel for making statements “that appeared to prejudge this matter before they began investigating the complaint,” before calling on the committee to release the transcripts related to his case “as an act of transparency and accountability to bolster confidence that partisanship does not infect the Ethics Committee’s investigations.”
Lengthy statement from Nunes on closing of House Ethics Committee investigation into his actions earlier this year, says probe was unwarranted and “politically motivated” pic.twitter.com/Pxf2r7uCkW
— Natasha Bertrand (@NatashaBertrand) December 8, 2017
I wouldn’t hold your breath waiting for the committee to release those transcripts. They might reveal more of that nasty partisan hack bug that’s been floating around.