Nunes refuses to step away from Russia probe

2017-03-28 19:39
Devin Nunes. (J Scott Applewhite, AP)

Devin Nunes. (J Scott Applewhite, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Washington - House intelligence chair Devin Nunes has rebuffed calls to step aside from the Russia investigation as demands grew for him to recuse himself as head of that probe.

"Why would I?" Nunes said. The calls for him to resign came after revelations about his meeting with a secret source on White House grounds raised questions about his and the panel's independence.

Nunes said the pressure for him to resign was typical politics.

"It's the same thing as always around this place - a lot of politics, people get heated, but I'm not going to involve myself with that," he said.

Public doubts

Nunes acknowledged on Monday that he reviewed intelligence reports at the White House complex and met a secret source behind his statement that communications involving associates of President Donald Trump were caught up in "incidental" surveillance.

The Republican congressman's disclosure prompted the top Democrat on the committee, Rep Adam Schiff, as well as the Democratic leaders in the House and Senate, to call on Nunes to recuse himself from the committee's Russia probe.

Schiff said Nunes' connections to the White House have raised insurmountable public doubts about whether the committee can credibly investigate the president's campaign associates.

"I believe the public cannot have the necessary confidence that matters involving the president's campaign or transition team can be objectively investigated or overseen by the chair," Schiff said in a statement on Monday.

After reviewing the information last week, Nunes called a news conference to announce that US spy agencies may have inadvertently captured Trump and his associates in the routine targeting of foreigners' communications. 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.

Nunes has denied co-ordinating with the president or his aides.

Congressional committees

But Rep Jackie Speier, D-Calif, a member of the committee, said on Tuesday that Nunes should step down "in the interest of our integrity." She said his actions raise questions about whether the panel's investigation can be unbiased and independent.

"If you become a White House whisperer, you are not independent," she said.

The Senate intelligence committee is also conducting an investigation into Russia's interference in the election and possible ties with the Trump campaign. It announced on Monday that Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, has agreed to be interviewed. The White House confirmed that Kushner, a senior Trump adviser, had volunteered to be interviewed about arranging meetings with the Russian ambassador and other officials.

Kushner is the fourth Trump associate to offer to be interviewed by the congressional committees looking into the murky Russia ties. Trump's former campaign chair, Paul Manafort, Trump adviser Carter Page and Trump associate Roger Stone last week volunteered to speak as well.

House panel

Meanwhile, a Russian state bank says it has met Kushner as part of a series of meetings on future business strategies.

Vnesheconombank, or VEB, said in a statement carried by state RIA Novosti news agency that it met Kushner last year as part of 'road show' discussions with representatives of leading financial institutions in Europe, Asia and the United States. It said the meetings focused on global development banks' strategies.

Trump suggested late on Monday that the House panel should investigate Bill and Hillary Clinton's dealings with Russia. "Trump Russia story is a hoax," he tweeted.

Besides the two congressional committees, the FBI is also investigating connections between the Trump campaign and Russia.


Read more on:    donald trump  |  russia  |  us

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/News
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.