The chairman of the House Intelligence committee, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), apologized to committee Democrats in a meeting on Thursday morning according to Congressional Democrat on the panel.
Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) told reporters waiting outside of the meeting that Nunes apologized to the ranking Democrat, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), during the meeting. A senior Republican committee staffer confirmed that account and said that Nunes pledged to work more with committee Democrats.
Nunes drew fire from both Congressional Democrats and Republicans for disclosing on Wednesday afternoon that the communications of Trump transition officials were swept up through “incidental collection” without briefing or sharing the reports with intelligence commitee Democrats.
The California Republican gave a press conference to Congressional reporters and then proceeded to the White House to brief President Donald Trump and then did another press conference with White House reporters all without speaking to Democrats.
That lead to accusations that Nunes was providing cover for Mr. Trump’s unproven wiretapping claims. “Chairman Nunes is deeply compromised and he cannot possibly lead an honest investigation,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said during her weekly press conference.
Nunes’ counterpart, Schiff, blasted the move in a press conference Wednesday evening. “The chairman will need to decide whether he is the chairman of an independent investigation into conduct which includes allegations of potential coordination between the Trump campaign and the Russians or he’s going to act as a surrogate of the White House because he cannot do both,” Schiff said.
He also expressed doubt about the committee’s ability to do a credible investigation saying that Nunes actions, “throws a profound doubt over whether than can be done credibly.”
“Bizarre” is how Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) described the back and forth between the leaders of the House intelligence committee in an interview with MSNBC. It prompted him to renew his call for a select committee to investigate Russian interference.
“No longer does the Congress have credibility to handle this alone, and I don’t say that lightly,” he said Wednesday evening.
Sen, Mark Warner (D-VA), the leading Democrat on the Senate intelligence committee, said he was “absolutely mystified” by Nunes’ actions and slammed them as “pretty inappropriate.”
“This notion of finding information and not sharing it with other members of the committee and then somehow reporting to the White House, again it seems pretty inappropriate to me,” Warner told CBS News on Wednesday.
The Senate Intelligence Committee’s investigation into Russian interference during the 2016 presidential election appears to be going smoother. “This would not be the way the senate is going to operate, we’re going to continue to operate in a bipartisan fashion,” Warner promised.
On Thursday morning, Nunes appeared contrite. “It was a judgement call on my part,” Nunes told reporters while expressing hope that there would be more information to share with the rest of the committee on Friday.
“Sometimes you make the right decisions, sometimes you make the wrong one, but you got to stick by the decisions you make.”