The House Ethics Committee has cleared House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes of any wrongdoing in its investigation into whether the Republican improperly disclosed classified information to the Trump White House.
The decision, announced on Thursday, paves the way for Nunes to officially return to the helm of the Intelligence Committee’s expansive Russia investigation.
Nunes announced in April, after the Ethics investigation was opened, that he would cede day-to-day control of the Russia probe to Texas Rep. Mike Conaway.
The Ethics Committee said in a statement clearing Nunes that it had consulted classification experts in the intelligence community to analyze information that Nunes shared with the White House regarding the Obama administration’s unmasking of Trump associates.
“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,” the Ethics Committee said in its statement.
Nunes welcomed the decision but criticized the Ethics panel’s decision to open an investigation in the first place.
“I’d like to thank the Ethics Committee for completely clearing me today of the cloud that was created by this investigation, and for determining that I committed no violation of anything — no violation of House Rules, law, regulations, or any other standards of conduct,” Nunes said in a statement.
“While I appreciate the Ethics Committee’s work, I need to reiterate that the allegations against me were obviously frivolous and were rooted in politically motivated complaints filed against me by left-wing activist groups. I respect the ethics process, but I remain dismayed that it took an unbelievable eight months for the Committee to dismiss this matter,” he added.
The Ethics probe began in response to complaints filed by liberal groups Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, Democracy 21 and MoveOn.org.
Nunes also accused Democratic members of the Ethics Committee of making comments that “prejudge[d]” its investigation.