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Nunes rejects calls to remove self from Russia-Trump investigation
April 30 2017, 06:41 | Alonzo Simpson
Nunes Visited White House Day Before He Told Press About Surveillance, Spokesman Says
But on Tuesday, Nunes said he was going nowhere and House Speaker Paul Ryan backed him.
Trump quickly seized on the statements as at least partial vindication for his assertion that President Obama tapped his phones at Trump Tower - though Nunes, Schiff and FBI Director James Comey have said there is no such evidence.
"I believe that the Chairman should recuse himself from any further involvement in the Russian Federation investigation, as well as any involvement in oversight of matters pertaining to any incidental collection of the Trump transition, as he was also a key member of the transition team", Schiff said.
Last week, Nunes announced he obtained "dozens of reports" showing the US intelligence community - through its "normal foreign surveillance" - "incidentally collected information about USA citizens involved in the Trump transition".
Congressman Nunes has come under consistent pressure for his unwillingness to investigate the Trump administration and its ties to Russian Federation.
The embattled House committee is conducting one of three probes into the election campaign, its aftermath and potential contacts between Trump officials and Russians. But Schiff and other senior Democrats are arguing that his close relationship with Trump and the White House makes the committee chairman's position untenable - and speculating that he has been acting on instructions from the White House. "The integrity of the committee looking into this has been tainted". It said the meetings focused on global development banks' strategies and perspective sectors. Chris Christie admitted he didn't agree with Nunes' actions but said recusal is a "personal decision". The chairmen of the House Ways and Means and Senate Finance committees wrote tax bills. Yet, to date, no one else involved in the investigation has seen the documents, setting the committee at partisan odds.
Pressed by reporters as to how Mr Nunes had obtained clearance to enter the White House Mr Spicer said he had no new information regarding the meeting between the Republican congressman and the source.
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., who a week ago said the committee must keep a strong focus on Russia's meddling in the election, continued to back Nunes.
Putin also said he's ready to meet with President Donald Trump at an upcoming Arctic summit.
"This is what cover-up behavior looks like", he said.
And House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said Ryan should insist that Nunes "at least recuse himself" from the Russian Federation probe. Politico reports Nunes told NBC News, "We're beginning to figure out who's actually serious about the investigation because it appears like the Democrats aren't really serious about this investigation". House Intelligence Committee member Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., defended canceling the public session until after Comey and Rogers had testified again, saying "there were more than 100 questions" the two couldn't answer because of the open nature of the first hearing.
Comey has said that there is no information to support Trump's allegation that Obama ordered the wiretapping of Trump Tower in NY.
Oklahoma Rep. Tom Cole, a House GOP deputy whip, has described Nunes as loyal to his friends, and always willing to help them in a fight.
Jones also said the special committee should be independent and outside Congress, like the 9/11 Commission. Nunes, who was on Trump's transition team, has declined to elaborate and he shared his information with the White House, but not his Democratic colleagues on the intelligence committee.