House Dems to Ryan: Recuse Nunes from Russia probe

House Dems to Ryan: Recuse Nunes from Russia probe
© Greg Nash

A group of 20 House Democrats is urging Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanRealClearPolitics reporter says Freedom Caucus shows how much GOP changed under Trump Juan Williams: Biden's child tax credit is a game-changer Trump clash ahead: Ron DeSantis positions himself as GOP's future in a direct-mail piece MORE (R-Wis.) to remove Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) from the House Intelligence Committee’s probe of Russian election meddling last year.

“Chairman Nunes’ recusal is critical in order to preserve the integrity and independence of the U.S. House of Representatives,” they wrote in a Tuesday letter to Ryan.

“Congress must come together in a bipartisan fashion to understand the nature of this attack and the scope of Russian ties to [President Trump’s 2016] campaign, transition team and presidential administration,” they added.

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“This is about country, not party. Chairman Nunes has demonstrated his bias, and the public will no longer accept the results of this probe as legitimate under his leadership.”

Tuesday’s letter was signed exclusively by Democratic members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, including ranking member Rep. Eliot Engel (N.Y.) and Reps. Gerry ConnollyGerald (Gerry) Edward ConnollyHouse bill targets US passport backlog Democrats weigh next steps on Jan. 6 probe Tlaib, Democrats slam GOP calls for border oversight to fight opioid crisis MORE (Va.) and David Cicilline (R.I.).

Nunes has faced bipartisan criticism over his actions while the House Intelligence panel probes Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential race.

Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainMeghan McCain on Pelosi, McCarthy fight: 'I think they're all bad' Democrats seek to counter GOP attacks on gas prices Biden nominates Jeff Flake as ambassador to Turkey MORE (R-Ariz.) said last Sunday that Nunes, a former member of Trump’s transition team, had “killed” efforts to keep the investigation neutral.

Nunes, who was involved in Trump's transition, created an uproar last month by publicly revealing he had seen evidence members of the transition team were incidentally surveilled during a broader intelligence probe.

The California lawmaker visited the White House one day before making the revelations, sparking concerns about where he got the information, which was not immediately shared with fellow committee members.

Reports emerged last week that two White House officials helped Nunes acquire the information he made to claim Trump’s transition was swept up in foreign surveillance.

National Security Council member Ezra Cohen-Watnick and Michael Ellis, a national security lawyer with the White House Counsel’s Office, are purportedly the two individuals who aided Nunes.

Nunes quickly briefed Trump on the reports after speaking with the press, drawing ire from Democrats on the panel. 

Critics worry Nunes’s decisions have cast doubt on his panel’s ability to remain impartial while scrutinizing Russian’s election interference last year.

Intelligence Committee ranking member Rep. Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffOfficers offer harrowing accounts at first Jan. 6 committee hearing Live coverage: House panel holds first hearing on Jan. 6 probe Five things to watch as Jan. 6 panel begins its work MORE (D-Calif.) raised suspicions that the White House tried to "launder" information through the committee to support Trump's claims that President Obama wiretapped him. 

Many Democrats have called for Ryan to remove Nunes from the chairmanship. Ryan has so far stood by his colleague.