The House Intelligence Committee's ranking Democrat Rep. Adam Schiff called on his Republican counterpart Devin Nunes to recuse himself from the committee's investigation into President Donald Trump's connections with Russia on Monday.
Schiff's statement followed news reports that Nunes, the committee's chairman, was on White House grounds with a source who showed him secret intelligence reports. The day after that meeting, Nunes briefed Trump that he and his advisers may have had their communications picked up "incidentally" as part of American surveillance of foreign leaders.
"After much consideration, and in light of the Chairman's admission that he met with his source of information at the White House, I believe that the Chairman should recuse himself from any further involvement in the Russia 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 in a statement posted to Twitter.
Schiff said he worried the public is losing faith in Nunes's ability to conduct an unbiased investigation.
%shareLinks-quote="I believe the public cannot have the necessary confidence that matters involving the President's campaign or transition team can be objectively investigated or overseen by the Chairman." type="quote" author="Rep. Adam Schiff " authordesc="" isquoteoftheday="false"%
"I believe the public cannot have the necessary confidence that matters involving the President's campaign or transition team can be objectively investigated or overseen by the Chairman," Schiff said.
Nunes defended his White House visit by saying he wanted "to have proximity to a secure location where he could view the information provided by the source." The Trump administration was not aware of his visit, he said.
Democrats have seized on Nunes's announcement, accusing the Republican of attempting to give political cover for Trump, who claimed in a series of shocking tweets this month that his predecessor, President Barack Obama, had wiretapped his phones during the 2016 election.
Last week, Schiff said Nunes's actions had thrown "great doubt" on the committee's ability to conduct a fair investigation.
Numerous lawmakers have called for a select committee to carry out the investigation, and the effort received bipartisan support when Republican John McCain questioned Nunes's credibility in an interview on Wednesday.
Read Schiff's entire statement below:
After much consideration I believe Chairman should recuse himself from involvement in investigation/oversight of Trump campaign & transition pic.twitter.com/jpfA1x80Si
— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) March 27, 2017