The head of the House Intelligence Committee announced Thursday that he was temporarily stepping aside from the investigation into Russian interference in the election.
Rep. Devin Nunes said accusations of bias on his part were false but that for the good of the committee, someone else should take charge.
In a statement, Nunes blamed left-wing activist groups that have filed accusations against him with the Office of Congressional Ethics.
“I will continue to fulfill all my other responsibilities as committee chairman, and I am requesting to speak to the Ethics Committee at the earliest possible opportunity in order to expedite the dismissal of these false claims,” Nunes said.
GOP Congressman Mike Conaway of Texas will take charge of the committee’s investigation.
House Speaker Paul Ryan Speaker supported Nunes’ decision, saying the ethics questions “would be a distraction.”
Nunes has admitted to going to the White House grounds to meet a source and look over intelligence reports. His ability to remain independent of President Donald Trump’s administration in the investigation of possible Russian interference in the 2016 election has been called into question.
Nunes was part of Trump’s transition team.
House Democrats had been demanding Nunes recuse himself from the investigation. Nunes had called the requests for an independent investigation of contact between the Trump camp and Russia a “witch hunt.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.