House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) called Monday for House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) to recuse himself from the investigation into President Donald Trump's ties to Russia. Other Democrats joined her, including the ranking Democrat on the Intel committee, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) and Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas).
Earlier Monday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said that Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) should remove Nunes from the chairmanship of the House Intelligence Committee while citing similar concerns to that of Pelosi.
Pelosi released a statement from her Twitter account saying, “The Chair of the House Intelligence has a serious responsibility to the Congress and to the Country. Chairman Nunes’ discredited behavior has tarnished that office."
“Speaker Ryan must insist that Chairman Nunes at least recuse himself from the Trump-Russia investigation immediately," she concluded. "That leadership is long overdue.”
Schiff spoke to CNN's Congressional correspondent, Phil Mattingly, to explain his position on the matter.
"It was no secret that he [Nunes] was on the transition team," Mattingly challenged him, "and up to this point you've been OK with him leading this investigation, was it just the visit to the White House that changed everything in your view?"
"Well, it was two things," Schiff replied. "First, it was the sort of dead-of-night meeting at the White House and then later returning to the White House with whatever information he got at the White House."
"But more than that," he continued, "to the degree that he's claiming now goes to whether there was incidental collection on the members of the transition team. That's a different issue than we were looking at before. Particularly if he says this doesn't involve the Russian investigation. If we are gonna look at whether proper procedures were followed, vis-a-vis the transition team, we can't have a member of that transition team doing the oversight. So I think in those two areas, I think it makes sense for the chairman to recuse himself."
"Obviously, actions taken by the chairman have compromised the investigation," Rep. Castro said on CNN, "and also, I think his ability to lead the investigation. I agree with ranking member Schiff that chairman Nunes at this point, should recuse himself from this investigation. All of us on the Democratic side believe that this should be handled outside of Congress; that an independent commission should undertake this investigation. However, if the speaker is not going to do that, and it is going to be led in the House by the intelligence committee, then someone else should lead it."
Schiff had earlier accused Nunes of acting improperly when he admitted that he took information about Trump's wiretapping claim to the president before notifying the Intel committee. Monday, it was revealed that Nunes had gone to the White House the night before to receive the intelligence, raising more suspicions that he acted for the sake of the Trump administration and not according to the duties of his position.
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The president has said that he felt "somewhat vindicated" by the information Nunes divulged, but it has not yet been released to the Intel committee, or to the public.