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 NunesProposed California maps put incumbents in jeopardy Devin Nunes's family ordered to reveal who is paying for defamation lawsuit Three key behind-the-scenes figures in Jan. 6 probe 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

ADVERTISEMENT

Rep. Norma Torres (D-Calif.) began to ask about President TrumpDonald TrumpGOP grapples with chaotic Senate primary in Pennsylvania ​​Trump social media startup receives commitment of billion from unidentified 'diverse group' of investors Iran thinks it has the upper hand in Vienna — here's why it doesn't MORE's son-in-law and senior adviser Jared KushnerJared Corey KushnerBiden celebrates start of Hanukkah Kushner looking to Middle East for investors in new firm: report Watchdog finds no money has flowed out of agency tasked by Trump admin to fight pandemic MORE’s statement to the House Intelligence Committee, according to the report.

But Rules Committee Chairman Pete SessionsPeter Anderson SessionsCapitol Police dominate lawmakers in Congressional Football Game The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Emergent BioSolutions - Facebook upholds Trump ban; GOP leaders back Stefanik to replace Cheney Ex-Trump aide Pierson planning run for Congress 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 HastingsCarrie Meek, former Florida congresswoman, dies at 95 Florida officials certify 5-vote victory in primary for Alcee Hastings' seat Democratic primary for Hastings's Florida House seat headed for a recount 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.