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Devin Nunes stepping aside in Russia probe — at least for now

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Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) will step aside in the Russia investigation — at least temporarily.

The Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee has been plagued by criticism of his handling of the probe of possible ties between Russia and the Trump campaign.

“Several left-wing activist have filed complaints against me with the Office of Congressional Ethics,” Nunes said in a statement. “The charges are entirely false and politically motivated, and are being leveled just as the American people are beginning to learn the truth about the improper unmasking of the identities of U.S. citizens and other abuses of power.”

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Nunes said he would step away from the investigation until the ethics complaints had been examined, and hand over oversight of the probe to Rep. Mike Conaway (R-TX).

Reps. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) and Tom Rooney (R-FL) will assist Conaway, Nunes said.

Nunes said he will continue to serve as chairman while the ethics probe was completed.

Gowdy has called on Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the panel’s ranking Democrat, to recuse himself from the Russia investigation because he backed Hillary Clinton in the election.

Schiff has called on Nunes to recuse himself after revealing classified information that showed Trump campaign associates were caught in routine surveillance of foreign agents and then meeting with the White House before other members of the House committee.

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The ranking Democrat has accused Nunes and White House officials of “laundering” documents related to the investigation.


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Republican Kevin McCarthy gets taken down by former top GOP colleague

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Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) was attacked by a former Republican colleague who alleged McCarthy and his fellow members of Congress have allowed the House GOP to become the official shill for the White House.

In a profile for the New York Times, former Oversight Committee Chairman Tom Davis (R-VA) shamed the GOP House for the way that a once-respectable institution has fallen.

“Congress no longer operates as an independent branch of government, but as an appendage of the executive branch,” said Davis. “He is made for that role.”

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Former senator reveals to Maddow how one brave Democrat can reveal key document in impeachment trial

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Near the end of Wednesday's impeachment trial, Chief Justice John Roberts announced that an agreement had been made to allow senators to read supplemental testimony from Vice President Mike Pence aide Jennifer Williams.

The document will remain classified, despite claims that there is no classified material in the document, only evidence that is damning to the president.

"In terms of this document potentially being improperly classified, which is something that has been raised in writing by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and raised on the floor of the Senate tonight by Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA)," MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow noted. "Obviously, it was the vice president's office that said it was classified, they are getting publicly criticized for that. If it has been improperly classified and it should be something that the public can see, who adjudicates that?"

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Florida Republican Matt Gaetz admits Trump’s legal defense was ‘like an 8th grade book report’ — only worse

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Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) admitted that President Donald Trump's team of lawyers weren't quite the legal eagles that he thinks they might be, said Politico reporter Andrew Desiderio.

Questioned about his take on the way the case is unfolding in the Senate, Gaetz said that the House presented it like it was going to be on "cable news." For many that may be an insult, but it appears to Gaetz that was a compliment.

Desiderio said that Gaetz then lamented that the White House presented their case more like “an 8th-grade book report.”

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