US House ethics panel clears Nunes in Russiagate classified leak probe

Devin Nunes Adam Schiff

Intelligence chairman cleared of wrongdoing in House ethics probe

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.

Nunes stepped aside from leading the intelligence committee's investigation of Russian Federation and the 2016 USA presidential election in April as the Ethics panel said it was investigating allegations that he had disclosed classified information.

The committee said in a statement that experts it interviewed determined that the information the House Select Intelligence Committee chairman divulged was not classified.

Nunes had recused himself from his role as chairman for purposes of the Intelligence Committee's Russian Federation investigation since April.

Nunes welcomed the news, but criticized the committee in a statement for taking eight months to clear him of allegations that he argued "were obviously frivolous and were rooted in politically motivated complaints filed against me by left-wing activist groups".

"In the course of this investigation, the committee sought the analysis of Representative Nunes' statements by classification experts in the intelligence community. 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".

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He also challenged the committee's decision to take up the allegations against him in the first place, arguing that determining whether material was classified or not was normally the purview of committee staff, making the Ethics Committee's decision to weigh in on the matter "unprecedented".

Bowing to pressure, however, he ceded control of the Intelligence Committee's investigation to Republican Reps.

I therefore call on the Ethics Committee to publicly release all its transcripts related to my case.

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 been at odds with Democrats on the Intelligence Committee, who are upset that he has continued to issue subpoenas for documents and witnesses despite saying that he had stepped aside from the probe. But Nunes did not recuse himself and many Democrats have complained he has been too involved in the investigation.

Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee Devin Nunes (R-CA) speaks during a presser in Capitol Hill, Washington, U.S., October 24, 2017.

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