Politics

Ethics Committee Closes Book on Devin Nunes

Panel clears Intelligence Committee chairman of claims of unauthorized disclosures

The House Ethics Committee has cleared House Intelligence Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., of charges of unauthorized disclosures of classified information. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House Ethics Committee on Thursday announced it has closed an investigation into Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, clearing him of claims that he made unauthorized disclosures of classified information.

“The committee does not determine whether information is or is not classified ... [so it] sought the analysis of Representative Nunes’s statements by classification experts in the intelligence community,” Ethics Chairwoman Susan W. Brooks and ranking member Ted Deutch said in a statement. “Based solely on the conclusion of these classification experts that the information that Rep. Nunes disclosed was not classified, the committee will take no further action and consider this matter closed.”

The investigation arose after Nunes told reporters at the White House on March 22 that he had reviewed “intelligence reports” indicating that members of President Donald Trump’s campaign had been swept up in foreign surveillance by U.S. spy agencies.

Nunes went to the White House to inform Trump about the reports before having briefed Intelligence ranking member Adam B. Schiff and other members of the panel, which was investigating Russia’s interference in the 2016 election and any potential Trump administration ties to that effort.

After the Ethics Committee opened its investigation, Nunes agreed to recuse himself from the Russia investigation. Texas GOP Rep. K. Michael Conaway has been leading the probe.

Nunes issued a statement thanking the Ethics panel “for completely clearing me today of the cloud that was created by this investigation, and for determining that I committed no violation of anything — no violation of House Rules, law, regulations, or any other standards of conduct.”

However, the California Republican complained that the allegations were “obviously frivolous and were rooted in politically motivated complaints filed against me by left-wing activist groups” and expressed dismay that it took the Ethics panel “an unbelievable eight months” to dismiss the matter.

Nunes also called on the Ethics panel to publicly release transcripts of his case, saying he and his staff would work with them to ensure necessary protocols regarding classified information are followed.

“I am concerned about the unprecedented step the Ethics Committee took in both taking up allegations of unauthorized disclosures of classified information — a review that has historically been undertaken by non-partisan professional staff within the respective congressional committees — and how it ultimately reviewed this specific matter,” Nunes said.

“I am also concerned by public statements made by four of the Ethics Committee’s five Democrats that appeared to prejudge this matter before they began investigating the complaint,” he added.

Nunes’ statement did not address whether he wants to un-recuse himself from the Russia investigation.

Watch: What’s Congress’ Role in the Russia Investigation? One Senator Explains

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