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 NunesThe Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Kidney Care Partners — Lawmakers scramble as shutdown deadline nears ‘Fox & Friends’ host asks if McCabe opening FBI probe into Trump was attempt to ‘overthrow government’ Nunes says GOP lawmakers looking through Russia transcripts, will make DOJ referrals 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 John TrumpMcCabe says he was fired because he 'opened a case against' Trump McCabe: Trump said 'I don't care, I believe Putin' when confronted with US intel on North Korea McCabe: Trump talked to me about his election victory during 'bizarre' job interview MORE's son-in-law and senior adviser Jared KushnerJared Corey KushnerThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the American Academy of HIV Medicine - Will there be any last-minute shutdown drama? Rule change sharpens Dem investigations into Trump Drama hits Senate Intel panel’s Russia inquiry MORE’s statement to the House Intelligence Committee, according to the report.

But Rules Committee Chairman Pete SessionsPeter Anderson SessionsGOP House super PAC targets two freshman Dems with new ads Top 10 events of 2018 that shaped marijuana policy Washington braces for lengthy shutdown 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 HastingsSome Senate Dems see Ocasio-Cortez as weak spokeswoman for party Florida lawmaker diagnosed with pancreatic cancer GOP leaders hesitant to challenge Trump on Saudi Arabia 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.