The House Ethics Committee concluded its investigation of Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) Thursday, clearing him of all misconduct when he revealed surveillance and “unmasking” of Donald Trump’s transition team.
Nunes had recused himself from his role as chairman for purposes of the Intelligence Committee’s Russia investigation since April. He did so after publicly revealing the wiretap intercepts of Trump campaign officials and their “unmasking” by Obama administration officials in March. What Nunes termed “leftwing activist groups” filed complaints with the Office of Congressional Ethics, claiming Nunes had released classified information.
In a statement Thursday, the Ethics Committee explained they had categorically ruled against these complaints:
In the course of this investigation, the Committee sought the analysis of Representative Nunes’s statements by classification experts in the intelligence community. Based solely on the conclusion of these classification experts that the information that Representative Nunes disclosed was not classified, the Committee will take no further action and considers this matter closed.
The decision will allow Nunes to retake his seat at the forefront the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation, often seen as the best counterbalance to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s own Russia investigation, which has come under increasing fire over its possible politicization.
Nunes issued his own statement announcing his vindication and his return to work. “On April 6, 2017, the Ethics Committee announced that it would investigate allegations that I made unauthorized disclosures of classified information,” he wrote, continuing:
I’d like to thank the Ethics Committee 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.
The chairman went on to demand an inquiry into the circumstances surrounding his Ethics Committee investigation. “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 wrote, then demanding:
I therefore call on the Ethics Committee to publicly release all its transcripts related to my case. The Committee can work with me and my staff to ensure that any necessary protocols regarding classified information be adopted prior to any such release. Both this House and the American people would undoubtedly benefit from such an act of transparency and accountability to bolster confidence that partisanship does not infect the Ethics Committee’s investigations.
As Breitbart News Washington Political Editor Matt Boyle reported in July, concerns of bias, “slow-walking,” and deliberately removing Nunes to compromise the efficiency of the House Intelligence Committee investigation plagued Nunes’s ethics investigation.