Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) reportedly told GOP donors behind closed doors that Democrats are using the investigations into Russian election meddling as part of an excuse for losing the presidential election.
“The Democrats don’t want an investigation on Russia. They want an independent commission," Nunes told Republicans during a recent private dinner fundraiser, according to the Los Angeles Times.
"Why do they want an independent commission? Because they want to continue the narrative that [Russian President] Vladimir Putin and [President] Donald TrumpDonald TrumpJudge rules Alaska governor unlawfully fired lawyer who criticized Trump Giuliani led fake electors plot: CNN Giuliani associate sentenced to a year in prison in campaign finance case MORE are best friends, and that’s the reason that he won, because [Democratic nominee] Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonNo Hillary — the 'Third Way' is the wrong way The dangerous erosion of Democratic Party foundations The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Democrats see victory in a voting rights defeat MORE would have never lost on her own; it had to be someone else’s fault."
Nunes claimed Democrats tried to "destroy this Russia investigation."
"They’ve never been serious about it, and one of the great things now that I’ve stepped aside from this Russia investigation, I can actually say what I want to say," he said.
"I know that there’s probably media in here, you can write it but just try to get it right when you do."
Asked to clarify his comments, a spokesman for Nunes responded with a statement from him saying: "For the LA Times to tout comments I made in front of 700 people, which attendees broadcasted on Facebook Live and which reflected themes I've discussed repeatedly this year, as some sort of unique revelation is the epitome of lazy reporting and fake news."
Nunes, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, recused himself from his panel's investigation into Russia's efforts to meddle in the 2016 election amid a House ethics probe.
Earlier this month, the Justice Department named a special counsel to lead the Russia probe.
On Tuesday, Trump similarly dismissed the investigation, tweeting that Russian officials "must be laughing at the U.S. & how a lame excuse for why the Dems lost the election has taken over the Fake News."