Rep. Nunes cleared in politically-motivated ethics probe

Nunes and Mueller

The House Ethics Committee has cleared the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee on a complaint that he may have leaked classified information.

The ethics committee said Thursday in a brief statement that it determined the Republican congressman did not disclose classified information in March, when he made a surprise announcement about the United States government picking up information about President Donald Trump's transition team during a surveillance sweep.

Devin Nunes on Thursday of allegations raised in the spring that he revealed classified information related to the House's Russian Federation investigation.

"The Committee does not determine whether information is or is not classified", the statement said.

"Based exclusively on the conclusion of these classification experts that the information that Representative Nunes disclosed was not classified, the committee will take no further action and considers this matter closed", the statement said.

Democrats on the intelligence committee, including ranking Democrat Adam Schiff of Burbank, said Nunes had compromised the Russian Federation investigation and began calling on the congressman to recuse himself even before the ethics complaint was filed by two watchdog groups.

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It was not clear whether Nunes would formally resume leadership of the House Intelligence Committee's investigation.

The "left-wing" groups that Nunes was referring to include MoveOn.Org, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) and Democracy 21.

Bowing to pressure, however, he ceded control of the Intelligence Committee's investigation to Republican Reps. Based on their findings, the committee ruled that Nunes did not break any classification rules and closed the matter. He called on the committee to release all non-classified information collected during its investigation, saying the public would benefit from its transparency.

The accusations against Nunes arose after President Donald Trump tweeted in March, without giving evidence, that former President Barack Obama, a Democrat, had wiretapped him as he competed for the presidency.

Nunes has remained chairman of the intelligence panel. But Nunes did not recuse himself and many Democrats have complained he has been too involved in the investigation.

Nunes is expected to retake his position as the head of the House Intelligence Committee's investigation of Russian meddling in the USA election that was effectively stalled while the allegations were reviewed.

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