March 26, 2019

Nunes steps down from US election Russian hacking probe

rerThe head of a key US congressional investigation into alleged Russian hacking has temporarily stepped down amid an ethics inquiry into him.
House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes is now himself under investigation by the House Ethics Committee.
The panel is looking into claims that the Republican disclosed classified intelligence.
Mr Nunes called the charges “entirely false” and “politically motivated”.
Representative Mike Conaway will take control of the Russia investigation.
Mr Nunes said his decision came after “several leftwing activist groups have filed accusations against me with the Office of Congressional Ethics”.
He added he would continue to fulfill his other responsibilities as chairman and has requested to speak to the ethics panel “in order to expedite the dismissal of these false claims”.
Democrats have criticised Mr Nunes for his handling of the inquiry, which is also looking at possible links between the Trump campaign and Moscow.
What did Mr Nunes allegedly do wrong?
The House Ethics Committee said in a statement on Thursday: “The Committee is aware of public allegations that Representative Devin Nunes may have made unauthorised disclosures of classified information, in violation of House rules, laws, regulations, or other standards of conduct.”
Mr Nunes’ political enemies have accused him of helping the White House to divert attention from an FBI announcement that they were investigating alleged links between the Trump team and Russian officials.
Mr Nunes has acknowledged making an after-dark trip to the White House grounds last month that even his own aides were apparently unaware of.
The next day he hastily announced at a news conference that he had learned post-election communications of Mr Trump’s team had been monitored by intelligence agencies as they snooped on foreign officials.
He expressed alarm that information about the then-incoming president’s aides were swept up in US intelligence reports.
Mr Nunes’ Democratic colleagues on the panel were furious that he had not shared such information with them before going public.
In the face of much scepticism, Mr Nunes maintains White House officials were not his original source for the claims.
The California Republican reportedly apologised for the incident.
But Democrats questioned whether the investigation into Russia’s alleged role in the election could proceed objectively.

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