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House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes To Step Aside From Russia Probe

Updated at 9:48 a.m.

House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes says he is temporarily stepping aside from the committee's probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, as the House Ethics Committee opens an inquiry into whether he illegally or improperly disclosed classified information.

Nunes will continue to serve as the committee's chairman and remain involved in other matters before the panel. Rep. Mike Conaway, R-Texas, will take lead on the Russia investigation.

A statement from the House Ethics Committee said the committee was aware of public accusations that Nunes "may have made unauthorized disclosures of classified information, in violation of House Rules, law, regulations, or other standards of conduct."

Nunes calls the accusations against him "entirely false" and says they were filed by "leftwing activist groups."

The California Republican said it was in the best interests of the intelligence committee that he hand over leadership of the probe to Conaway during the ethics panel's inquiry.

The chairman has been dogged by calls that he recuse himself for weeks, since he "secretly went to the White House grounds to meet with a source, before he surprised his colleagues by briefing the president — and the press — on information they hadn't seen," as we've reported.

The incident cast a cloud over the committee's investigations into Russian interference in the U.S. election.

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