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MSNBC analyst to Dem rep: Has Nunes been compromised by the Russians?

NBC News and MSNBC national affairs analyst John Heilemann on Tuesday asked Rep. Eric SwalwellEric Michael SwalwellTrump knocks CNN for 'completely false' report Gaetz was denied meeting Meghan McCain calls on Gaetz to resign Gaetz, on the ropes, finds few friends in GOP MORE (D-Calif.) if he thought House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin NunesDevin Gerald NunesOvernight Defense: Administration says 'low to moderate confidence' Russia behind Afghanistan troop bounties | 'Low to medium risk' of Russia invading Ukraine in next few weeks | Intelligence leaders face sharp questions during House worldwide threats he Hillicon Valley: Biden administration sanctions Russia for SolarWinds hack, election interference Intelligence leaders face sharp questions during House worldwide threats hearing MORE (R-Calif.) had "been compromised by the Russians."

The question comes following a Monday vote in the House Intelligence Committee to make a controversial Republican-crafted memo public. The memo purports to show bias within the FBI and the Department of Justice.

"Congressman, I’m going to ask you a question I asked Sen. [Chris] Murphy (D-Conn.) a little earlier. It’s an impolitic question and one that would have seemed absurd in almost any other circumstance," said Heilemann, a former Bloomberg TV host.

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"Congressman Nunes, your chairman, it is suggested not by me but by people who follow these matters closely, could possibly be someone who’s been compromised by the Russians. Is that something you consider a possibility?”

Swalwell stopped short of saying Nunes was compromised by Russians, but responded that he thinks Nunes has been "actively involved in this very disruptive process."  

“I can’t speak to his motives," Swalwell said. "I think he’s been compromised by the White House. He certainly seems to be willing to risk the republic to protect the president, to risk the rule of law to help the president’s case in the Russian investigation."

"He’s supposed to be recused," he continued. "He’s been recused in body in that he doesn’t show to the Russia witness interviews, but not in spirit. He has his hand all over every subpoena that he signs and now he’s actively involved in this very disruptive process.” 

Democrats, led by ranking House Intelligence member Rep. Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffOvernight Defense: Administration says 'low to moderate confidence' Russia behind Afghanistan troop bounties | 'Low to medium risk' of Russia invading Ukraine in next few weeks | Intelligence leaders face sharp questions during House worldwide threats he Hillicon Valley: Biden administration sanctions Russia for SolarWinds hack, election interference Intelligence leaders face sharp questions during House worldwide threats hearing MORE (D-Calif.), have slammed the decision to release the memo, calling it a "dark day" in the Trump presidency.

The discussion between Heilemann and Swalwell comes ahead of President TrumpDonald TrumpBiden administration still seizing land near border despite plans to stop building wall: report Illinois House passes bill that would mandate Asian-American history lessons in schools Overnight Defense: Administration says 'low to moderate confidence' Russia behind Afghanistan troop bounties | 'Low to medium risk' of Russia invading Ukraine in next few weeks | Intelligence leaders face sharp questions during House worldwide threats he MORE's first State of the Union on Tuesday night and one day after Andrew McCabe resigned as FBI deputy director.

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McCabe, 49, was planning on leaving the bureau in March, but took “terminal leave” that bridges the gap via vacation time starting Monday.

The president's Republican allies were pleased with the McCabe resignation after accusing the former deputy director of bias against Trump for months while criticizing his handling of the Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonChelsea Clinton: Pics of Trump getting vaccinated would help him 'claim credit' Why does Bernie Sanders want to quash Elon Musk's dreams? Republican legislators target private sector election grants MORE email investigation.

“The news that FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe is stepping down is a step forward,” Rep. Matt GaetzMatthew (Matt) GaetzOfficer wounded in raid that killed Breonna Taylor gets book deal McCarthy says Gaetz won't be punished unless charges filed Matt Gaetz makes six-figure ad buy targeting CNN amid sex trafficking allegations MORE (R-Fla.) said in a statement on Monday. “I will continue fighting on behalf of the American people to expose and eradicate corruption within the FBI and Department of Justice.”