Graham on Nunes: He's on a 'Lark,' Like 'Inspector Clouseau'
But House Intelligence Committee chair says he's not recusing himself from Russia probe
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 28, 2017 1:28 PM CDT
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House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes is pursued by reporters as he arrives for a weekly meeting on Tuesday on Capitol Hill in Washington.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

(Newser) – The top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee has asked its chair to recuse himself from the probe into the Trump administration's ties to Russia—but so far, Devin Nunes has said "nyet." Politico calls Nunes and the White House "defiant" after Rep. Adam Schiff's request Monday, which was spurred by the revelation that Nunes had met with an unnamed source somewhere on White House grounds the day before he said he had proof that members of Trump's transition team had been "incidentally" surveilled. When asked by reporters Tuesday if he'll keep leading the Russia investigation, Nunes replied, "Why would I not?" Democrats are pushing back on Nunes' actions, which remain shrouded in mystery: White House press secretary Sean Spicer remained cryptic Monday when reporters asked about Nunes' visit to the White House property on the night in question, per CBS News.

"This is what a cover-up to a crime looks like," Rep. Eric Swalwell said on the Today show Tuesday, per NBC News. But Dems aren't the only ones scratching their heads. Also on the Today show, GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham questioned Nunes' "objectivity" and compared him to a rogue Inspector Clouseau from The Pink Panther. "He's gone off on a lark by himself," Graham noted, adding Nunes had "lost his ability to lead." And Sen. John McCain said Tuesday on CBS This Morning that Nunes has "a lot of explaining to do." The intel chair has further plunged the committee into what Rep. Jim Himes described on MSNBC's Morning Joe as a state of "suspended animation" by whiting out the committee's meetings for the rest of the week. Originally set for Tuesday: a public hearing with testimony from ex-AG Sally Yates, former National Intelligence head James Clapper, and ex-CIA chief John Brennan that Nunes has since canceled.

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