US House Intelligence chairman cleared of disclosing classified information

US House Intelligence chairman cleared of disclosing classified information

Nunes released a statement Thursday night, saying he was angry the review took him off the investigation for eight months. His spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

If Nunes were to return to the investigation, it would put a close ally of President Donald Trump at the head of one of the congressional investigations into whether Russian Federation coordinated with his campaign. The surprise decision paves the way for the firebrand lawmaker to reassume chairing a House intelligence panel.

"In the course of this investigation, the committee sought the analysis of Representative Nunes' statements by classification experts in the intelligence community". Nunes had stepped aside from the Russian Federation probe pending the ethics investigation and amid criticism that he was too close to the White House. "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 matter closed".

The Ethics Committee said Thursday that "classification experts in the intelligence community" determined that when Nunes (R., Calif.) suggested to the press in March that Trump transition team members' identities may have been improperly revealed in foreign surveillance reports, he was not disclosing classified information.

In a statement Thursday, Nunes thanked the ethics committee for clearing him and reiterated his claim that "the allegations against me were obviously frivolous and were rooted in politically motivated complaints filed against me by left-wing activist groups".

He also said he was concerned about the "unprecedented step" the Ethics Committee took in investigating his alleged disclosure of classified information when such allegations have historically been reviewed by non-partisan professional staff from the intelligence committee. Nunes also wants the investigating panel to release transcripts of the interviews it conducted with him, AP reported. "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 source spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss private deliberations. The meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya has come under the microscope because Trump Jr. accepted the invitation from British publicist Rob Goldstone after being promised Veselnitskaya would provide incriminating information about Hillary Clinton. CNN reported that none of the newly disclosed emails were sent directly to Trump Jr., who has said there was no follow-up to the meeting.

Just days after the meeting, Goldstone apparently forwarded a message to Kaveladze referencing a report about Russia's breach of the Democratic National Committee. "Ike thought it was weird because it had nothing to do with what was discussed at the meeting the week before".

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