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Politics Democrats frustrated Nunes left mid-hearing after questions about Russia probe

02:40  12 july  2018
02:40  12 july  2018 Source:   cnn.com

Nunes slams Schiff over threat to hold GOP 'accountable' for probing alleged surveillance of Trump campaign

  Nunes slams Schiff over threat to hold GOP 'accountable' for probing alleged surveillance of Trump campaign House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes said Monday Republican won’t be threatened by Democrats’ who say they will be held accountable for damaging the FBI and the Justice Department after he called for interviews with 17 current and former FBI and DOJ officials.House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes on Monday dug in after Democrats warned Republicans that "they will be held accountable" for damaging the FBI and Justice Department during their probe into possible government surveillance abuse.

Schiff fires back, questioning why Nunes called off a hearing with former Obama officials. Nunes has come under fierce criticism from Democrats , who have accused him of colluding with the White House to undermine the panel’s probe , which is also examining whether Trump’s campaign colluded

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Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) leaves while Senior Advisor Jared Kushner leaves meets with the House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill July 25, 2017 in Washington, DC. / AFP PHOTO / Brendan Smialowski (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images) © BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) leaves while Senior Advisor Jared Kushner leaves meets with the House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill July 25, 2017 in Washington, DC. / AFP PHOTO / Brendan Smialowski (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

When California Republican Rep. Devin Nunes sat before a committee Wednesday to testify on a bill, Democrats tried to use the opportunity to question the House Intelligence Committee chairman on his investigation of Russian meddling and the 2016 presidential race.

But the Republican chairman of the House Rules Committee -- Rep. Pete Sessions of Texas -- allowed Nunes to leave the hearing before Democrats could fire off their questions, prompting criticism from Democrats.

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Republicans will use the memo as a smoking gun, but much of Nunes ' case can be explained by factors that were left out of the document. He also gave a speech during the trip about how Trump would reset U.S.- Russia relations.

Top Democrat fears House Intelligence Committee may split on Russia probe findings. Stone was questioned about his advance knowledge of the release of embarrassing emails from the After the news conference, the House Ethics Committee began investigating whether Nunes mishandled

Caroline Boothe, a spokeswoman for the Rules Committee, said the plan beforehand was that Nunes would give his opening statement on the related legislation before the committee -- the Intelligence Authorization Act -- then leave to attend other business, while Rep. Frank LoBiondo, a New Jersey Republican, would step in to take questions from the committee about the bill.

This plan was shared with Democrats, and Democrats knew ahead of time that Nunes would not be taking questions, Boothe said.

However, Sessions went ahead and opened it up for questions while Nunes was still in the witness seat, and Democrats used the opportunity to start to ask about Russia.

RELATED: Nunes is demanding new information on Trump campaign and FBI informants

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Democrats are plotting their next move after questioning House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes ’ fitness to lead the panel’s investigation into Russia ’s involvement in Even some fellow Republicans have questioned whether Nunes ’ actions have compromised the integrity of his probe .

Trump won't declassify Democrats ' memo, citing national security concerns. Nunes did 'irreparable' harm to House Intelligence Committee, Democratic member says. Trump accuses Dems of sending him Russia probe memo they knew he would reject.

Rep. Norma Torres, a California Democrat, started asking a question about Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and a statement he previously made to the House Intelligence Committee.

Sessions interrupted her and abruptly broke up the committee for a five-minute recess to discuss the questioning with the top Democrat on the committee, Rep. Jim McGovern.

They resumed the hearing 18 minutes later, and Sessions dismissed Nunes from the witness table before Democrats could ask him more questions.

Democrats took issue with Sessions' dismissal of the House intelligence chairman.

"In all my years on the Rules Committee, I don't ever recall an instance where any member was prevented from asking questions of a witness," McGovern said in a statement. "What is Chairman Nunes trying to hide?"

Rep. Alcee Hastings, a Florida Democrat, said he had questions for Nunes about the bill and used some colorful language to knock Nunes for leaving the hearing early to go attend another hearing.

"He's already gone but I think that circumvents our responsibility," he said. "We are continuously mindful of members' other responsibilities, but if he had to go vote at Ways and Means, he's going to get many other opportunities to vote on the same crap that he's going there to vote on."

CNN's Jeremy Herb contributed to this report.

Devin Nunes, House Intelligence Chairman, says Justice Department hoping 'Republicans will lose the House' .
House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes blasted the Justice Department and the FBI for having "actively obstructed a congressional investigation" with what he sees as a political goal of waiting out Republican investigators. In an interview with fellow Republican Rep. Sean Duffy, Nunes warned the Justice Department and FBI "are putting all their chips in on that the Republicans will lose the House and all of these investigations will shut down.

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