Nunes leaves in middle of hearing following questions on Russia probe

Democrats on the House Rules Committee expressed frustration when House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin NunesDevin Gerald NunesDemocrats' opposition research got exposed — this time, not by the Russians GOP consultant sued by Nunes asks for help paying legal costs Hillicon Valley: Hacker group targeted electric grid | House Democrats press CBP over facial recognition program | Senators offer bill to protect health data | Groups file FCC complaint over carriers' use of location data MORE (R-Calif.) was allowed to leave a panel hearing on a bill before they could ask questions about his panel's investigation into Russia's influence in the 2016 presidential election.

Democrats tried to grill Nunes about his committee’s probe while he sat to testify about a bill Wednesday, CNN reported

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Rep. Norma Torres (D-Calif.) began to ask about President TrumpDonald John TrumpPompeo changes staff for Russia meeting after concerns raised about top negotiator's ties: report House unravels with rise of 'Les Enfants Terrible' Ben Carson: Trump is not a racist and his comments were not racist MORE's son-in-law and senior adviser Jared KushnerJared Corey KushnerThe Hill's Morning Report - A raucous debate on race ends with Trump admonishment White House abruptly cancels Trump meeting with GOP leaders The Hill's Morning Report — Trump retreats on census citizenship question MORE’s statement to the House Intelligence Committee, according to the report.

But Rules Committee Chairman Pete SessionsPeter Anderson SessionsHillicon Valley — Presented by CTIA and America's wireless industry — Lawmaker sees political payback in fight over 'deepfakes' measure | Tech giants to testify at hearing on 'censorship' claims | Google pulls the plug on AI council Lawmaker alleges political payback in failed 'deepfakes' measure As Russia collusion fades, Ukrainian plot to help Clinton emerges MORE (R-Texas) interrupted her, CNN reported. 

He broke up the committee for a recess and later dismissed Nunes before Democrats could ask him any more questions.

"In all my years on the Rules Committee, I don't ever recall an instance where any member was prevented from asking questions of a witness," Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) said in a statement to CNN. "What is Chairman Nunes trying to hide?"

Rep. Alcee HastingsAlcee (Judge) Lamar HastingsHarris hops past Biden in early race for Black Caucus support NFL players: Corporal punishment in schools is unacceptable Biden holds lead in 2020 endorsements MORE (D-Fla.) ripped Nunes for leaving.

"He's already gone, but I think that circumvents our responsibility," Hastings said. "We are continuously mindful of members' other responsibilities, but if he had to go vote at Ways and Means, he's going to get many other opportunities to vote on the same crap that he's going there to vote on."

Nunes and the GOP members of the House Intelligence Committee shut down their investigation into Russian election meddling in March.

The group asserted that there was no evidence that Russia attempted to help Trump win the 2016 presidential election.

Leaders in the group’s Senate counterpart found the opposite in May, ruling that the intelligence community’s assessment that Russia interfered in the election to help Trump win the White House was accurate.

Updated at 11:42 a.m.