House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) temporarily recused himself Thursday from all matters related to the committee’s ongoing probe into Russian interference in the presidential election, as House investigators look into ethics charges against him.
The House Ethics Committee released a statement Thursday saying it had “determined to investigate” allegations that “Nunes may have made unauthorized disclosures of classified information, in violation of House Rules, law, regulations, or other standards of conduct.”
Nunes denied the charges as “entirely false and politically motivated,” blaming “several leftwing activist groups” for filing complaints with the Office of Congressional Ethics. Nunes said his recusal — which only applies to the committee’s Russia investigation — would be in effect while the House Ethics Committee looks into the matter, noting that he had asked to speak with that committee “at the earliest possible opportunity in order to expedite the dismissal of these false claims.”
In the meantime, Nunes said, Rep. K. Michael Conaway (R-Tex.) will take the lead on the Russia investigation, with assistance from Reps. Thomas J. Rooney (R-Fla.) and Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) — who also sits on the Ethics Committee.
House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) said Thursday that he does not think Nunes did anything wrong, but “fully support[s] his decision.”