Devin Nunes to Step Aside From Russian Probe

The House intelligence committee chairman will be replaced by three Republican congressmen.

Aaron P. Bernstein/Reuters/ZUMA

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House intelligence committee chairman Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) announced Thursday he will temporarily remove himself from the committee’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. The announcement comes amid mounting questions over his ability to fairly handle the ongoing probe. Last month, he held a press conference to announce that he’d seen intelligence reports suggesting that members of Donald Trump’s transition team had been “incidentally” swept up in the course of foreign intelligence collection. He then rushed to the White House to brief the president before sharing the information he had learned with his colleagues on the committee. It later turned out that the information he had seen had been provided to him by White House officials and that he had viewed this intelligence on White House grounds—revelations that raised questions of whether he was taking part in a Trump administration effort to distract from the widening Russia controversy.

In a statement this morning, Nunes said:

Several leftwing activist groups have filed accusations against me with the Office of Congressional Ethics,” Nunes said in a statement. “The charges are entirely false and politically motivated, and are being leveled just as the American people are beginning to learn the truth about the improper unmasking of the identities of U.S. citizens and other abuses of power.

Despite the baselessness of the charges, I believe it is in the best interests of the House Intelligence Committee and the Congress for me to have Representative Mike Conaway, with assistance from Representatives Trey Gowdy and Tom Rooney, temporarily take charge of the Committee’s Russia investigation while the House Ethics Committee looks into this matter.

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the ranking Democrat on the House intelligence committee, praised Nunes for the decision, calling it a “fresh opportunity to move forward in the unified and nonpartisan way that an investigation of this seriousness demands.”

Shortly after Nunes’ announcement, the House Ethics Committee released a statement saying it has launched an investigation into allegations Nunes improperly handled classified information.

This is a breaking news post. We will update when more information becomes available.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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