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US Sen. John McCain said on Sunday that House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes destroyed the House’s bipartisan investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.
In an interview with Martha Raddatz on ABC’s “This Week,” McCain said that while he was “happy to see” the Senate Intelligence Committee leadership working in a bipartisan fashion, Nunes’ covert acceptance of documents from White House officials gave the impression that he was uninterested in a fair investigation into any connections between Trump campaign officials and Russia.
“The fact is that these committees, especially intelligence committees and Armed Services committees, we work closely together as Republicans and Democrats,” McCain said. “We have to. It’s for the good of the security of the nation and the men and women who serve us.”
He continued: “This is obviously a schism between Republican and Democrats, let alone that bizarre fashion with which all of this happened. If we’re really going to get to the bottom of these things, it’s got to be done in a bipartisan fashion. And as far as I could tell, Congressman Nunes killed that.”
McCain previously expressed bewilderment earlier this week at Nunes’ acceptance of information from several White House sources, as well as his subsequent decision to brief the president on the information before sharing it with members of the House Intelligence Committee.
“I think there needs to be a lot of explaining to do,” McCain said on CBS “This Morning.” “I’ve been around for quite a while, and I’ve never heard of any such thing. Obviously, on a committee like an intelligence committee, you’ve got to have bipartisanship, otherwise the committee loses credibility. And there’s so much out there that needs to be explained by the chairman.”
Nunes drew criticism from Democrats and even a few Republicans after reports suggested he gained access to classified intelligence documents from two White House officials. The documents, he said, showed that members of Trump transition team may have incidentally had communications intercepted by the intelligence community. Nunes then briefed the president about the documents before sharing the information in them with the House Intelligence Committee, a decision Nunes subsequently said he regretted.
For his part, the chairman has denied that he coordinated with the White House over the release of documents.