One thing that has become crystal clear about the Trump administration and the current GOP leadership in the House and Senate is that their ethics are questionable at best. This has become clear, yet again, after an ethics complaint was filed against Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) and House Speaker Paul Ryan.
On June 2, the Democratic Coalition Against Trump issued a memo announcing they had filed an ethics complaint with the Office of Congressional Ethics of the United States House of Representatives. The memo read:
‘On June 2, 2017 the Democratic Coalition Against Trump submitted a request to the Office of Congressional Ethics of the United States House of Representatives, asking that they investigate Representative Devin Gerald Nunes for obstruction of justice, for failing to recuse himself from the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation of Russian interference into the U.S. election, and unilaterally issuing subpoenas without notifying fellow House members on the Committee.’
— Scott Dworkin (@funder) June 2, 2017
The complaint came after Rep. Nunes was harshly criticised by the House Intelligence Committee’s ranking Democrat, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.). Back in April, Rep. Nunes recused himself from the investigation into Russian collusion and meddling in the 2016 president election. His recusal came after he spoke to the press and President Trump about the classified information.
Despite this, however, he still continues to chair the Intelligence Committee and retains “subpoena power.” Furthermore, he issued three subpoenas related to the unmasking of individuals tied to Trump. Rep. Schiff claimed that is a violation of ethics. Furthermore, subpoenas still require Rep. Nunes’ final approval before being issued.
‘When someone says they’re going to recuse themselves or step aside from the investigation, you have to expect that they’re not going to insist on having final approval over subpoenas, one of the most important tools of an investigation.’
Rep. Nunes previously commented about the fact that despite his recusal he is still participating in the investigation.
‘Simply put, I’m still the chairman of the Committee. The way to look into this is that I’m still read into everything…’
The memo issued by the coalition iterated those facts.
‘On June 1, 2017 It was reported that Rep. Nunes remained involved and a “powerful force” in the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation of Russian interference, despite saying that he would recuse himself.
On June 1, 2017 Rep. Nunes ignored his promise for self-recusal by issuing subpoenas without informing Democratic members of the House Intelligence Committee. This move not only blatantly disregards his recusal promise, but also violates House rules, which requires that Committee members be informed before subpoenas are issued.’
The only comment Rep. Nunes made in regards to the ethics complaints is, of course, FAKE NEWS! He tweeted:
‘Seeing a lot of fake news from media elites and others who have no interest in violations of Americans’ civil liberties via unmaskings.’
— Devin Nunes (@DevinNunes) June 1, 2017
Additionally, Rep. Nunes is not the only one to be slammed with an ethics complaint. After Rep. Schiff criticised Rep. Nunes, he urged House Speaker Paul Ryan to address it. Of course, he did not. He issued a statement that really stated nothing.
‘While Mr. Conaway leads the Russia investigation, Mr. Nunes remains the chairman of the intel committee and has the right and responsibility to conduct oversight of the intelligence community, especially as it relates to the potential misuse of intelligence agencies against Americans.’
Since he failed to even remotely address the issue, the Democratic Coalition Against Trump also filed an ethics complaint on Speaker Ryan. In the memo they issued, they explained that as the Speaker refused to do anything about Rep. Nunes, he was obstructing justice.
‘Also on June 1, 2017 Speaker Ryan, through his spokeswoman, stood behind this abuse of power and misconduct. By allowing Nunes to retain the chairmanship, and the powers to issue these subpoenas, the Speaker has failed to protect the integrity of the House Intelligence Committee and the purity of the investigation it is leading.’
— Scott Dworkin (@funder) June 2, 2017
Whether or not something will come of the complaints remains to be seen. However, it is damning evidence that reveals the true morals of the GOP officials that lead the investigation regarding Russia. It should be simple. If you recuse yourself, you have nothing to do with the investigation. However, Rep. Nunes will continue to meddle in the investigation until either he shuts it down or a higher official takes him off.
Featured Image via Alex Wong/Getty Images.