House Intel Dem calls on Nunes to recuse himself from Russia probe

House Intel Dem calls on Nunes to recuse himself from Russia probe
© Greg Nash

Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) on Monday demanded that House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) recuse himself from the panel's investigation into potential ties between Russia and President Trump's campaign. 

Speier, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, accused Nunes of "bizarre and partisan actions" over the past week and described him as "unfit" to spearhead the investigation.

The committee has been investigating Russian active measures against the U.S. presidential election, which also covers any ties between Russia and associates of political campaigns and intelligence leaks. 

Nunes has come under increasing pressure from congressional Democrats after he revealed last Wednesday that he had viewed documents showing that intelligence was incidentally collected on members of President Trump's transition team and that some of their identities may have been "unmasked." Nunes briefed the media and then Trump on the information before briefing the committee. Democrats on the committee say they have yet to see the documents in question, which Nunes says he is waiting to receive from the National Security Agency. 

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Speier made the call after reports surfaced that Nunes was on the White House grounds meeting with the source of his information the day before he made the bombshell announcement. Nunes confirmed the detail but said he was not at the White House itself. A spokesman told The Hill in a statement that he "met with his source at the White House grounds in order to have proximity to a secure location where he could view the information provided by the source."

The Democratic congresswoman pointed to the detail as evidence of "collusion" between the White House and Nunes on his claims, which both have denied.

"The chairman’s admission this morning that he met with an unnamed 'source' on White House grounds 'in order to have proximity to a secure location where he could view [classified] information' is the last straw. This implies that the chairman and the White House colluded in a desperate attempt to salvage the president's credibility, after the president's bogus wiretapping claims were debunked by his own FBI director," Speier said. 

"The documents in question have yet to be shared with the full committee, despite the fact that the chairman held two press conferences and met with the president — a subject of the investigation — in the same day to discuss their contents," Speier said. "These actions are entirely unconscionable, and I therefore call for Chairman Nunes to recuse himself from the remainder of this investigation."

Speier also asked the White House to release its visitor logs to figure out who granted Nunes access to the White House complex and where exactly he viewed the documents. 

"Further, as the chairman is full aware, 'proximity' to a secured location provides zero protection — none — to classified information, so we need more clarity on the carefully chosen wording in his statement to prove that no classified information was put at risk," Speier said. 

Earlier, Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerGOP senator: Trump's criticism of McCain 'deplorable' Schumer to introduce bill naming Senate office building after McCain amid Trump uproar Why we need to build gateway now MORE (D-N.Y.) called on House Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanHead of top hedge fund association to step down Romney knocks Trump over McCain criticism Paul Ryan joins board of Fox Corporation MORE (R-Wis.) to replace Nunes as intelligence chair. 

The White House has said that it became aware of Nunes's appearance on the White House grounds last Tuesday through media reports and has directed any questions on the matter to the chairman. 

Nunes's revelation came two days after FBI Director James Comey publicly acknowledged that the bureau is probing Russian election interference, including possible coordination between members of the Trump campaign and Moscow.