Rep. Adam Schiff slammed Rep. Devin Nunes during an interview with MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell on Saturday, and said that Nunes had not honored his decision to recuse himself from the committee’s Trump-Russia investigation.
Nunes, a California Republican, is the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee.
The House Intelligence Committee issued seven subpoenas related to the investigation on Wednesday. Four were issued to former national security adviser Michael Flynn and Trump’s longtime lawyer Michael Cohen, as well as their respective firms.
Nunes reportedly issued the other three, which are aimed at answering questions about why Obama administration officials requested the “unmasking” of Trump associates whose names were incidentally collected during routine surveillance operations. According to committee rules, the chairman has to sign off on all subpoenas, unless that authority is delegated to someone else.
Schiff criticized Nunes on Saturday, saying “that authority should have been delegated to Mike Conaway in consultation with myself.” Conaway, a Republican representative from Texas, assumed Nunes’ role in the Russia probe after Nunes recused himself.
“That hasn’t happened yet, and I think it’s a violation of the recusal by the chairman, much in the same way I thought the Attorney-General’s recusal should have covered whether he participated at all in the firing of the person leading the FBI investigation,” Schiff continued.
Schiff was referring to Jeff Sessions’ written recommendation to Trump that he should fire former FBI director James Comey. Earlier in the year, Sessions said he would recuse himself from any Department of Justice investigations involving the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia, following reports that Sessions had not disclosed information about his meetings with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
Sessions’ recommendation to Trump, critics said, was a violation of his recusal.
Schiff said that in both Sessions’ and Nunes’ cases, “commitments to recuse themselves have not been fully honored.” He also blasted Nunes for “unilaterally” issuing the three subpoenas related to unmasking requests. They “went out without consultation with the minority. I only learned about this late the night before, and that’s a problem,” Schiff said. He added that he believed Nunes’ subpoenas resulted from the Trump administration’s “desire to shift attention away from the Russia probe.”
Nunes recused himself from the House investigation after he took a series of actions that raised questions about his independence in the investigation, and whether he was working with the White House to counter the Russia narrative.
Watch Schiff’s interview below:
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) June1, 2017