WASHINGTON (AP) – The chairman of the House intelligence committee says he will temporarily step aside from the panel’s probe into Russian meddling in the election.
In a statement on Thursday, Republican congressman Devin Nunes of California says that several left-wing activist groups have filed accusations against him with the office of congressional ethics.
Nunes says the charges are false and politically motivated. But he says it’s in the best interest of the committee to have GOP congressman Mike Conaway of Texas temporarily take charge of the committee’s investigation.
He says he will continue fulfilling other duties with the committee and wants to talk to the ethics committee as soon as possible to defend himself.
Meanwhile, Speaker Paul Ryan says an ethics complaint filed against Nunes by government watchdog groups would be a “distraction” and that Nunes should no longer lead the probe.
Nunes has come under intense criticism for meeting secretly with White House officials to view intelligence regarding Trump associates.
Ryan says he is confident that Conaway “will oversee a professional investigation into Russia’s actions and follow the facts wherever they lead.”
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