House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes has been cleared of wrongdoing by the House Ethics Committee following an investigation into whether he leaked classified information.
The ethics committee said Thursday in a brief statement that it determined the Republican congressman did not disclose classified information in March, when he made a surprise announcement about the U.S. government picking up information about President Donald Trump's transition team during a surveillance sweep.
The information, Nunes said, appeared to have been gathered under a FISA warrant, which would mean that that materials would be classified until explicitly declassified by the agency that made the designation.
Nunes called the accusations against him "politically motivated" when the committee said it would open an investigation earlier this year. "Based exclusively 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 matters closed".
"In the course of this investigation, the Committee sought the analysis of Representative Nunes's statements by classification experts in the intelligence community,"the letter said".
Nunes also said he was dismayed that the investigation took an "unbelievable" eight months to complete, and that it was conducted by the full committee outside of its typical process, which includes a non-partisan staff review of complaints before they are taken up by the committee.
In Nunes' absence Rep. Mike Conaway, R-Texas, had lead the Russian Federation probe "with assistance" from Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., and Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Fla.
In a statement thanking the committee for clearing him, Nunes did not address whether he would formally retake control of the investigation.
Nunes, however, is not accepting the favorable verdict quietly. Nunes also wants the investigating panel to release transcripts of the interviews it conducted with him, AP reported. He did not name the members he referenced. 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.
The Washington Post's Paul Kane contributed to this article.
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