Ethics Committee clears Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes

The House Ethics Committee has cleared House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes in its investigation into whether he disclosed classified information to the Trump White House, which could create an avenue for Nunes to return to the helm of the panel’s Russia investigation.

WASHINGTON, DC – OCTOBER 24: House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) speaks while flanked by and Rep. Don DeSantis (R-FL) as he announces that his committee and the House oversight committee are starting the investigation into Russia and Obama Administration uranium deal. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

The ethics panel announced Thursday that it was closing its investigation into Nunes after determining the information that the California Republican had disclosed was not classified.

“In the course of this investigation, the Committee sought the analysis of Representative Nunes’s statements by classification experts in the intelligence community,” the Ethics Committee said in a statement. “Based solely on the conclusion of these classification experts that the information that Representative Nunes disclosed was not classified, the Committee will take no further action and considers this matter closed.”

In April, Nunes stepped aside from the head of the committee’s probe into Russian election meddling amid questions about his decision to provide information to the White House about the unmasking of Trump officials at the tail end of the Obama administration.

Rep. Mike Conaway, a Texas Republican, took the lead on the Russia investigation alongside the committee’s top Democrat, Adam Schiff of California.

But Nunes has kept a hand in the investigation, as he’s continued to sign the committee’s subpoenas as chairman, with Conaway’s blessing.

His role has been a sore spot for Democrats on the committee, and the investigation into Russian meddling and possible collusion with the Trump campaign has frequently been roiled by partisan tensions.