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House Ethics Committee to investigate whether Nunes made 'unauthorized disclosures of classified information'

The House Ethics Committee announced Thursday that it is investigating House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), who until recently was heading up the House investigation on Russia's election interference. The Ethics Committee said it will look into allegations that Nunes violated House rules and law by making "unauthorized disclosures of classified information."

The allegations stem from a press conference Nunes held last month announcing Trump team communications may have been inadvertently swept up in routine surveillance by U.S. intelligence officials. Nunes' announcement came shortly after he met with sources on White House grounds, raising questions about possible collusion with the White House.

Earlier Thursday, Nunes announced that he would temporarily step aside from the investigation due to the allegations, which he attributed to "leftwing activist groups." Though Nunes fervently denied the allegations, he said he believed it's "in the best interests" of the committee for him to temporarily hand over the reins to his Republican colleagues.

The Ethics Committee stressed in a statement that it was investigating the allegations "to fulfill its institutional obligation," and noted "the mere fact that it is investigating these allegations ... does not itself indicate that any violation occurred."