Top Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee spurned a request from the panel’s Democratic ranking member Monday night to have chairman Devin Nunes recuse himself from an investigation into Russia and intelligence gathering related to the Trump transition. Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) was rather direct. In defense of Nunes, he said, “Jesus wouldn’t be a satisfactory chairperson to Democrats.”
In making his recommendation for Nunes to step down, Rep. Adam Schiff cited Nunes’ meeting with a source on White House grounds the night before the Republican made allegations about the incidental collection on the Trump team after Election Day. Schiff also pointed to Nunes’ decision to brief the White House before committee Democrats last Wednesday on the intelligence he had seen.
“Much in the same way that Attorney General Jeff Sessions was forced to recuse himself from the Russia investigation after failing to inform the Senate of his meetings with Russian officials,” Schiff said, “I believe the public cannot have the necessary confidence that matters involving the President’s campaign or transition team can be objectively investigated or overseen by the Chairman.” Nunes was a member of Trump’s transition team.
Nunes brushed off Schiff’s statement. He told The Weekly Standard, “People say a lot of things around here, and it’s fine. It’s politics.”
Asked whether he was considering Schiff’s request, which was later echoed by Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, Nunes said “no.”
Some of his fellow committee Republicans were more colorful in their rejection of calls for his recusal.
“Jesus would not be a satisfactory chairperson to some of my Democratic colleagues,” Gowdy said. “They would complain about his hair.”
About the Author
Jenna Lifhits is a reporter at The Weekly Standard.