TrumpWatch, Day 77: Trump-Russia Inquiry — House Intelligence Chairman Nunes Steps Aside

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Devin Nunes (pictured) recuses himself from inquiry amid concern over his collaboration with White House

Developments on Day 77 of the Trump Administration:

Under-Fire Nunes Steps Aside From Trump-Russia Inquiry

GOP Representative Devin Nunes, the chair of the House Intelligence Committee, has recused himself from the Trump-Russia inquiry.

Nunes has been under escalating pressure after he collaborated with the White House last month over the direction of the inquiry. He met Trump Administration officials on White House grounds on March 21 to receive information, and consulted with Donald Trump the following day on next steps.

Nunes then cancelled any further committee hearings, following the opening session on March 20 in which FBI Director James Comey confirmed the investigation into possible “coordination” between the Trump campaign and Russian officials. Meanwhile, Trump said his unsupported claims that he was wiretapped by President Obama during the 2016 election had been “vindicated”, and the White House tried to shift the focus from Trump-Russia ties to alleged “unmasking” of US officials named in intelligence reports.

Democrats on the committee said they were not consulted by Nunes and began calling for his recusal from the enquiry. He is also under investigation by a House ethics panel over the possible disclosure of classified information.

Nunes said in a statement:

Despite the baselessness of the charges, I believe it is in the best interests of the House Intelligence C
committee and the Congress for me to have Representative Mike Conaway, with assistance from Representatives Trey Gowdy and Tom Rooney, temporarily take charge of the committee’s Russia investigation while the House ethics committee looks into this matter.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself on March 3 from the inquiry after revelations of his meetings with the Russian Ambassador to the US, Sergei Kislyak, while Sessions was part of the Trump campaign.

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