Democrats are escalating their resistance to House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) leading the committee's investigation of Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Nunes admitted Monday that he was on White House grounds the day before announcing he had seen intelligence suggesting incidental surveillance of members of President Trump’s transition team.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said in a statement Monday that Nunes’s actions had “tarnished” his committee chairmanship.
“Speaker [Paul] Ryan [R-Wis.] must insist that Chairman Nunes at least recuse himself from the Trump-Russia investigation immediately,” she said. "That leadership is long overdue.”
Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.), a member of the House Intelligence Committee, said Nunes has damaged the panel’s ability to fairly conduct a probe of Russia’s election meddling last year.
“Chairman Nunes should no longer be anywhere near this investigation, let alone leading it,” he said in a statement.
“For the sake of our duty to independently find the truth, and for the sake of his ability to chair the committee in its other important duties, he should recuse himself from our committee’s Russia investigation.”
Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) went a step further Monday, suggesting Nunes should immediately relinquish his committee chairmanship.
“If Chairman Nunes understood the Constitution and our separation of powers, he would resign his Intel Chairmanship immediately,” he tweeted alongside the hashtag #RussiaGate.
Nunes said Monday he would not recuse himself from his committee’s probe of Russia’s intrusions in the 2016 presidential race despite a growing number of Democratic lawmakers calling on him to do just that.
“Everything is politics here,” he said when asked about calls for his recusal from the investigation, according to a Voice of America journalist.
The top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffParis Hilton takes to Capitol Hill to advocate for troubled teen care reform Jan. 6 panel votes to hold Bannon in contempt Press: Steve Bannon behind bars in Capitol basement? MORE (Calif.), called for Nunes to recuse himself.
Earlier in the day, Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerFixing Congress requires fixing how it legislates Beware the tea party of the left Bottom line MORE (D-N.Y.) said Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanJuan Williams: Pelosi shows her power Cheney takes shot at Trump: 'I like Republican presidents who win re-election' Cheney allies flock to her defense against Trump challenge MORE (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 Monday afternoon.
Nunes confirmed he was on White House grounds last week to “confirm what I already knew” about members of Trump’s transition team getting caught up in surveillance operations.
The California lawmaker briefed Trump on his findings the following day, stunning fellow committee members who were unaware of what he found or that he would speak with the president.
Democrats have since questioned whether Nunes can remain independent while his committee probes Russia’s potential interference in the 2016 contest before Election Day.