Nunes rejects calls to remove self from Russia-Trump investigation

The intelligence committee's ranking Democrat, Rep. Adam Schiff, and Democratic leaders of the House and Senate have called on Nunes to recuse himself from the Russian Federation probe, though he and Speaker Paul Ryan have dismissed the idea.

We have known that prior to his announcement to the press last week that members of President Donald Trump's transition team were caught up in "incidental surveillance" of foreign nationals, Nunes visited the White House grounds in order to view confidential information in a SCIF (Sensitive Confidential Information Facility).

But Nunes can not say whether Trump or any of the president's associates personally participated in the communications that were intercepted, meaning it's possible that the information he's citing merely refers to foreign officials talking about Trump transition team members.

Last week, Nunes announced he obtained "dozens of reports" showing the USA intelligence community - through its "normal foreign surveillance" - "incidentally collected information about US citizens involved in the Trump transition". "It was a bipartisan, investigative road up until last Tuesday when the chairman exited and went to work with the White House". Trump quickly seized on the statements as at least partial vindication for his assertion that President Barack Obama tapped his phones at Trump Tower - though Nunes, Schiff and FBI Director James Comey have said there is no such evidence.

"He did the exact right thing from beginning to end and there really is a concerted effort out to undermine him", Rep. Peter King, a Republican from NY, told VOA.

Swalwell told reporters he had reached out to Nunes and asked for a roundtable meeting to "let the steam out of the pot", especially as concerns around the Russian Federation investigation begin to affect the rest of the committee's work.

Yates was heavily involved in the internal investigation, and the White House reportedly fears she would contradict official statements made about Flynn.

"To suggest that we need to hear from Comey and Rogers is to suggest that there's only two hours in the day and we have to make a decision", said Rep. Eric Swalwell, a Democratic committee member.

A spokeswoman for Ryan, R-Wis., said Monday that the speaker has "full confidence" in Nunes conducting a "thorough, fair and credible investigation".

Trump hosted a reception for senators and their spouses at the White House that attracted both Republicans and Democrats.

Democrats on Monday began to call for Nunes - chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence - to recuse himself from the probe.

The White House will take a lead role in crafting legislation to overhaul the US tax code, eyeing an August target date as Trump seeks his first legislative victory following the failure last week of a long-promised bill to undo Obamacare.

Nunes has been spending time at the White House, and his fellow committee members, Republicans and Democrats, are wondering how their investigation is going to be independent if their chairman is reporting to the White House.

Nunes stayed neutral during the Republican presidential primary.

But the chairman has said he will not share the source of his information even with other members of the Intelligence committee. Jones told reporters outside the House chamber, the Hill reports, adding: "You can't keep your credibility".

Nor would he disclose who invited him on the White House grounds for the meeting. "His actions look like those of someone who is interested in protecting the president and his party", Schumer said.

Mr Nunes yesterday declined to answer directly a question from reporters on whether he would recuse himself from the panel's probe.

That includes saying he will "never" reveal information to the House Intelligence Committee that he chairs.



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