The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee acknowledged Monday that he had made a secret visit to the White House last week to view intelligence files he then cited as proof of potentially improper spying activity against President Trump, casting new doubt on the independence of a congressional investigation into Russian election interference.
The admission by Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) triggered calls among Democrats for his removal as chairman of the House panel and bipartisan appeals for an independent probe of Kremlin meddling in the 2016 election and potential connections between Russia and Trump associates.
The committee’s ranking Democrat, Adam B. Schiff (Calif.), called late Monday for Nunes to “recuse himself from any further involvement in the Russia investigation” and all “oversight matters pertaining to any incidental collection of the Trump transition,” noting Nunes was a member of Trump’s transition team.
Nunes has denied any wrongdoing and dismissed calls for him to step down Monday night, saying on Fox News that “I’m sure that the Democrats do want me to quit because they know that I’m effective at getting to the bottom of things.”
The development coincided with the disclosure that Trump’s son-in-law and close adviser, Jared Kushner, had privately met in December with the chief executive of a Russian bank being targeted by U.S. sanctions and that Kushner has agreed to discuss such contacts with the Senate Intelligence Committee.
Nunes should not only recuse himself, he should also be removed from the House Intelligence Committee. His behavior was questionable and suspicious. He appeared to be shilling for the White House rather than performing the task of the Congress. He has equivocated and told too many different stories.
Nunes doesn’t have the background that would make him an expert in the intelligence field. He has blown is credibility and should not hold this important post. Paul Ryan needs to remove him, immediately!