Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York has called for the removal of Republican House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes from the investigation into President Donald Trump's alleged ties to Russia.
The Senate Minority Leader issued the demand following Nunes' admission that he visited the White House a day before alleging that Trump may have been targeted for surveillance, WHEC reported.
"If Speaker [Republican Rep. Paul] Ryan wants the House to have a credible investigation, he needs to replace Chairman Nunes," said Schumer, according to WHEC.
Nunes told the media last week that Trump could have been inadvertently subjected to surveillance by the intelligence agencies.
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"There should be no doubt about the integrity and impartiality of the investigation [into any ties between the Trump campaign and Russia]," Schumer added.
Schumer emphasized that he did not believe Nunes could act impartially.
"Unfortunately, the House Intelligence Committee has come under a cloud of suspicion and partisanship," said Schumer. "[Nunes] seems to be more interested in protecting the president than seeking the truth. You cannot have the person in charge of an impartial investigation be partial to one side -- it's an inherent contradiction."
However, a spokesman for Nunes sought to downplay the significance of the congressman's White House meeting.
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"Chairman Nunes met with his source at the White House grounds in order to have proximity to a secure location where he could view the information provided by the source," Jack Langer told NBC News. "The Chairman is extremely concerned by the possible improper unmasking of names of u.S. citizens, and he began looking into this issue even before President Trump tweeted his assertion that Trump Tower had been wiretapped."
Nunes did not confirm who his source was, refusing to say whether it was one of Trump's White House staffers or an intelligence agent.
One day later, Nunes briefed Trump on the matter, who responded by saying that the new information left him feeling "somewhat vindicated" about his allegation that former President Barack Obama wiretapped Trump Tower.
Others have pointed out that a secure room exists on Capitol Hill, where Nunes and other members of the HIC view classified documents on a regular basis.
"Through his bizarre and partisan actions over the last week, Chairman Nunes has demonstrated to the entire nation why he is unfit to lead our critical investigation into ties between President Trump's administration and Moscow," Democratic Rep. Jackie Speier of California said in a statement, Business Insider reported.
She also criticized Nunes' meeting to brief Trump.
"This implies that the Chairman and the White House colluded in a desperate attempt to salvage the president's credibility after the president's bogus wiretapping claims were debunked by his own FBI Director," added Speier.
Speier went on to call for the visitor logs at the White House to be released so that it could be established who signed in Nunes for the meeting with his source.