Nunes will not step down from Russia probe

Nunes will not step down from Russia probe
© Greg Nash

The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee will not step down from the committee's investigation into Russia's interference in the United States presidential election, despite a growing chorus of Democratic lawmakers demanding he recuse himself. 

"Of course not," Nunes' communications director, Jack Langer, said when asked if the congressman would step aside. "They’re playing an absurd political game."

Nunes echoed that sentiment in an appearance on Fox News’ “The O’Reilly Factor” Monday night, saying in response to a question, “I’m sure the Democrats do want me to quit."

"Everything is politics here," Nunes also told a Voice of America journalist.

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Democratic lawmakers, including ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffThe Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by United Against Nuclear Iran — Kavanaugh and his accuser will testify publicly Russia probe accelerates political prospects for House Intel Dems Trump to declassify controversial text messages, documents related to Russia probe MORE (D-Calif.), have asked Nunes to recuse himself in light of revelations he secretly visited the White House grounds one day before announcing incidental surveillance of President Trump’s transition team, and then briefed the president -- without informing committee Democrats. 

Nunes said his findings had no relevance to the Russia probe, even as the committee is examining the unmasking and leaking of surveillance information as part of that investigation. 

Nunes on Monday denied that there was anything untoward in his visit to the White House, pushing back on reports that the venture took place at night and calling the visit “pretty common.” 

But the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee demanded Monday evening that Nunes recuse himself. 

Schiff's call follows that of Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), who on Monday said Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) should replace Nunes in order for the Russia probe to be “credible.”

Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.), who also sits on the House Intelligence Committee, reiterated the call for Nunes to recuse himself, along with fellow California Democrat Eric Swalwell. 

And House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) weighed in Monday night, tweeting, "The time is long overdue for  to call on  to recuse himself at the very least."