Nunes cleared of accusations that he disclosed secrets related to Russia investigation


Rep. Devin Nunes — who stepped aside as chair of the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election amid an ethics probe into allegations that he disclosed classified information — was cleared late Thursday of any wrongdoing.

Nunes, a California Republican, could now opt to return to the Intelligence Committee’s Russia investigation.

In a statement, the House Ethics Committee said it had “sought the analysis of Representative Nunes's statements by classification experts in the intelligence community” and that they had determined that “the information that Representative Nunes disclosed was not classified.”

“The Committee will take no further action and considers this matter closed,” the panel said in its statement Thursday night. 

9 PHOTOS
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes
See Gallery
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes
U.S. House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Representative Devin Nunes (R-CA) briefs reporters at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., March 24, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Representative Devin Nunes (R-CA) walks out to brief reporters at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., March 24, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Representative Devin Nunes (R-CA) briefs reporters at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., March 24, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Representative Devin Nunes (R-CA) briefs reporters at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., March 24, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
House Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) and Ranking Member Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) speak with the media about the ongoing Russia investigation on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., U.S. March 15, 2017. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein
Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee Devin Nunes (R-CA) questions FBI Director James Comey and National Security Agency Director Mike Rogers during a hearing into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. election on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., March 20, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
US Rep. Jim Costa (D-CA) (R),Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) (2nd R) and Hubbard family members look on as US President George W. Bush (3rd R) signs the Hubbard Act in the Oval Office in the White House in Washington, August 29, 2008. The Hubbard Act protects the benefits of soldiers who leave the armed forces because they are the sole survivors in a family where other members have been killed in duty, and is named after the Hubbard family who lost two of their three sons in the war in Iraq. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst (UNITED STATES)
Devin Nunes, a Republican from California and chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, walks through Statuary Hall of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Friday, March 24, 2017. Paul Manafort, former chairman of Donald Trump's presidential campaign, is willing to be interviewed by the House Intelligence Committee investigating Russian interference in last years U.S. election, Nunes said today. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes speaks to journalists about upcoming investigation hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC Friday March 24, 2017. (Photo by Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

Nunes set off a political firestorm in March after holding a secret meeting with a source on White House grounds who Nunes claimed provided him with intelligence information suggesting President Donald Trump and his associates may have been "monitored" by U.S. intelligence during his transition.

The surprise announcement, along with Nunes’ refusal to reveal his source, led to questions from members on both sides of the aisle about whether Nunes had gotten the information from a White House source. The New York Times reported at the time that at least two White House officials were involved in helping Nunes obtain the intelligence documents. Nunes was also sharply criticized at the time for not informing ranking Democratic member Rep. Adam Schiff or other members of the committee that he was reviewing the documents before briefing Trump of his findings and speaking to reporters.

Nunes later backed down from the assertion, which Trump used as validation of his still-unsubstantiated allegation that former President Barack Obama wiretapped his phones in Trump Tower.

A month later, Nunes was accused of violating House rules by discussing the classified information.

14 PHOTOS
Putting the Trump-Russia timeline into perspective
See Gallery
Putting the Trump-Russia timeline into perspective
June 7: The 2016 primary season essentially concludes, with both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton as the presumptive party nominees
June 9: Donald Trump Jr. — along with Jared Kushner and former campaign chair Paul Manafort — meets with Kremlin-connected lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya.
June 9: Trump tweets about Clinton's missing 33,000 emails
July 18: Washington Post reports, on the first day of the GOP convention, that the Trump campaign changed the Republican platform to ensure that it didn't call for giving weapons to Ukraine to fight Russian and rebel forces
July 21: GOP convention concludes with Trump giving his speech accepting the Republican nomination
July 22: WikiLeaks releases stolen emails from the Democratic National Committee
July 25: Democratic convention begins
July 27: In final news conference of his 2016 campaign, Trump asks Russia: "If you're listening, I hope you're able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing"
August 4: Obama CIA Director John Brennan confronts his Russian counterpart about Russia's interference. "[I] told him if you go down this road, it's going to have serious consequences, not only for the bilateral relationship, but for our ability to work with Russia on any issue, because it is an assault on our democracy," Brennan said on "Meet the Press" yesterday.
October 4: WikiLeaks' Julian Assange says his organization will publish emails related to the 2016 campaign
October 7: WikiLeaks begins releasing Clinton Campaign Chair John Podesta's emails
October 7: Department of Homeland Security and the Director of National Intelligence release a statement directly saying that Russia is interfering in the 2016 election
October 31: "This WikiLeaks is like a treasure trove," Trump says on the campaign trail
November 4: "Boy, I love reading those WikiLeaks," Trump says from Ohio.
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

Nunes, in his own statement Thursday night responding to the panel’s conclusion, reiterated that the allegations that had been made against him were “frivolous” and “rooted in politically motivated complaints filed against me by left-wing activist groups,” and took a jab at the length of the probe.

“I respect the ethics process, but I remain dismayed that it took an unbelievable eight months for the Committee to dismiss this matter,” he said. Nunes also called on the panel to release all transcripts related to his case. 

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.