House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes apologized to committee members Thursday, a Democrat on the panel told reporters, coming the day after Nunes told the public and the President that communications of him and associates may have been collected by intelligence agencies before telling Democratic members of the committee.
Rep. Jackie Speier, a Democrat on the committee, said that Nunes apologized at their meeting Thursday morning.
Nunes also promised to provide the same information he’s viewed to the committee members but did not offer a specific timeline.
His apology comes after a day of fierce criticism from Democrats for how Nunes handled the news Wednesday. The ranking member of the House Oversight Committee believes Nunes should be the subject of an investigation after telling President Donald Trump that communications of him and associates may have been picked up after the election by intelligence agencies conducting surveillance of foreign targets.
“Basically what he has done is he has scuttled and put a cloud over his own investigation and he has become the subject — he should be — of an investigation,” Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Maryland, told CNN’s Chris Cuomo Thursday on “New Day.” “It’s a real problem.”
“What he did was basically to go to the President, who is being investigated by the FBI and others and by the intelligence committee, to give them information.”
Nunes, a member of the Trump’s transition team executive committee, set off a stunning new political controversy Wednesday when he headed to the White House to personally brief Trump on the revelations. Despite being advised against doing so, sources said Nunes met with Republican members of the Intelligence Committee before his news conference, but did not share information with the Democrats on the committee.
The House Intelligence Committee met for more than an hour Thursday. Rank and file Republicans on the panel dismissed questions from reporters on the way in, but Democrats on the panel have been champing at the bit since Nunes’ stunning news conference the day before.
Nunes’ Democratic counterpart on the committee — Rep. Adam Schiff — warned that his colleague had cast a “profound cloud” over their effort to investigate Russian attempts to interfere in the election.
Cummings said Nunes’ actions would never have been allowed on a committee the Maryland lawmaker chaired.
“If Nunes wants to know how to conduct himself, he needs to look at (House Intelligence Committee ranking member) Adam Schiff,” he said.
Rep. Eric Swalwell, who is also a Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said Nunes’ actions show that an independent commission is needed to investigate Trump and his associates.
“He’s not the President’s lawyer and he betrayed the independence that our committee must show at such a trying time in our nation’s history,” the California congressman told Cuomo. “And this is all the more reason that we need an independent commission to get to the bottom of this.”
“This cannot be conducted in Congress in the impartial, independent way that the American people are expecting.”
However, Swalwell stopped short of calling for Nunes’ resignation from being the intelligence chairman.
“He’s had some very good days on this committee. Yesterday, so far, was his worst. So let’s not judge him by his best day or worst day,” he said. “Let’s see what he does today when we meet in about an hour.”