‘Why Would I?’: Nunes Rebuffs Calls To Step Aside In Russia Investigation

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Amid calls to step down over questions of credibility into the investigation of President Donald Trump associates’ possible ties to Russia, House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes says, ‘Why would I?’

Tuesday morning, Nunes said he will “move forward” in the investigation despite calls from Democrats for his recusal. Nunes says he’s perfectly capable of conducting an independent investigation.

“So you’re not going to recuse yourself,” a reporter asked Tuesday.

“The investigation continues. We’ve had an investigation into Russia for many, many years,” said Nunes.

Nunes later said, “It’s the same thing as always around this place – a lot of politics, people get heated, but I’m not going to involve myself.”

But Democrats say the chairman’s ties to Trump’s campaign conflict with his ability to conduct a proper investigation. They also point to Nunes viewing secret documents on White House grounds and briefing the president afterwards, but he failed to debrief members of his own committee.

“Given the role in his transition team and the events of the past week, it just called too much into question about whether he has the objectivity necessary to oversee this investigation,” said Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA).

The White House denies it pressured Congressman Nunes to cancel a hearing to prevent former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates from testifying.

“I hope she testifies.  I look forward to it,” said White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer during Tuesday’s briefing. “If they choose to move forward, great. We have no problem with her testifying, plain and simple.”

CBS News has learned Yates was prepared to contradict previous White House statements about the firing of National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. General Flynn was forced to resign after the press revealed he misled Vice President Mike Pence and the American people about conversations he’d had with the Russian ambassador to the U.S.

Sally Yates’ attorney had asked the White House for permission to testify but White House lawyers never responded before Chairman Nunes canceled the hearing. Chairman Nunes says he canceled the hearing in order to recall FBI Director James Comey to testify before the committee again.

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