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House Intel Committee Unexpectedly Cancels Hearings

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The House Intelligence Committee canceled planned meetings for the week of March 28 amid controversy due to the committee's chairman holding a private meeting with President Donald Trump about its investigation into the administration's alleged ties with the Russian government.

"Not only [has] this investigation sort of had a shadow cast on it, but the committee has been put into suspended animation," Democratic Rep. Jim Himes of Connecticut, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, told MSNBC, according to The Huffington Post.

Republican Rep. Devin Nunes of California, the chairman of the house Intelligence Committee, has been strongly criticized by Democrats for meeting with Trump on White House grounds to discuss the ongoing investigation. According to the New York Times, Nunes met with Trump and briefed the president on the investigation by saying that Trump or some of his closest associates had been "incidentally" swept up in surveillance operations conducted by U.S. spy agencies.

That disclosure of information during an ongoing investigation has resulted in high-ranking Democrats calling for Nunes to recuse himself from the investigation completely.

"The Chair of the House Intelligence has a serious responsibility to the Congress and to the country," House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California said in a statement to CNN. "Chairman Nunes' discredited behavior has tarnished that office. [House] Speaker [Paul] Ryan must insist that Chairman Nunes at least recuse himself from the Trump-Russia investigation immediately. That leadership is long overdue."

Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff of California, the top-ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, has also called for Nunes' to recuse himself.

"We've reached the point, after the events of this week, where it would be very difficult to maintain the credibility of the investigation if the chairman did not recuse himself from matters involving either the Trump campaign or the Trump transition team of which he was a member," Schiff told CNN.

He added: "The questions are profound enough that I think we need to move past it, and ideally that would mean the chairman ought to recuse himself, not only from the investigation involving potential coordination or collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians, but also any oversight of minimization issues affecting the Trump transition since he was a member of that Trump transition team."

Nunes told CNN that he plans to "move forward" with the investigation.

The House Intelligence Committee usually meets twice per week, according to the New York Daily News.

Sources: CNN, MSNBC via Huffington Post, The New York Times, New York Daily News/ Photo credit: CSIS/Flickr

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