Trump ally in Congress steps aside as Russia probe leader

Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee Devin Nunes speaks to the press in Washington, DC, about the investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee Devin Nunes speaks to the press in Washington, DC, about the investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (AFP, NYTIMES) - The Republican leader of the House investigation into Russian interference in the US election announced Thursday (April 6) he was stepping aside after being criticised for being too close to President Donald Trump.  

Devin Nunes, the chairman of the House Intelligence Commitee, said that his decision came after “left-wing activist groups” filed accusations against him with the Office of Congressional Ethics.

He called the charges “entirely false and politically motivated,” but said it was in the committee’s best interests for him to temporarily step aside from the investigation. 

Nunes said Republican Representative Mike Conaway would now lead the committee’s investigation.

Many on Capitol Hill have said Nunes is too eager to do the White House’s bidding and cannot be an impartial investigator into questions about any role President Donald Trump’s associates may have had in last year’s Russian campaign to disrupt the election.  

Last month, he gave a news conference saying that he had obtained new information that the Obama administration had conducted improper surveillance of the Trump campaign during the election, and raced to the White House to brief Trump.

It was later revealed that Nunes had received the information from White House officials.