20 House Democrats request removal of Devin Nunes from Russia investigation

A group of House Democrats led by Rep. Gerry Connolly sent a letter to Speaker Paul Ryan Tuesday asking for the recusal of House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes from the ongoing investigation into Russian influence on the 2016 election. The letter is signed by 20 House Democrats from the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

“We respectfully write to request that Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes be recused from the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and potential Russian ties to the Trump campaign,” the letter states.

After walking through the events of the past two weeks, including Rep. Nunes’ visit to the White House grounds to view documents and subsequent refusal to share the information with Democrats on the committee, the letter cites statements by Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham attacking Nunes. The letter concludes:

Congress must come together in a bipartisan fashion to understand the nature of this attack and the scope of Russian ties to the Trump campaign, transition team, and presidential administration. Chairman Nunes has demonstrated his bias, and the public will no longer accept the results of this probe as legitimate under his leadership. This is about country, not party. It is also a test about the ability of the House, as an institution, to conduct an investigation of the Executive Branch while being independent of that branch. Chairman Nunes’ recent actions make clear he has failed that test. Only his recusal will allow the House to pass that test.

The idea that Democrats are trying to rescue the House from too much partisanship is, of course, absurd. There is still no proof behind the allegations the Trump campaign colluded with Russian hackers, an allegation which is once again trotted out in this letter. The allegation itself has become a means to an end: to keep the attack on the administration going and collect as many Republican scalps along the way as possible. “This is about country, not party,” would sound less like a laugh line if Democrats would stop using these accusations as a cudgel against Republicans in the media. Instead, we have House Democrats continually talking up collusion and even impeachment in advance of any proof.

Paul Ryan has already rejected calls to push Rep. Nunes aside once. Here’s hoping he’ll do the same in response to this request.