- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Downplaying the idea that the criticism of Rep. Devin Nunes is a partisan witch-hunt, Democrats are pointing out that Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham have also raised questions about the behavior of the House Intelligence Committee chairman.

Mr. Nunes has refused to bow to the demands of Democrats, who are calling on the California Republican to recuse himself from the House panel’s investigation into possible Russian interference in the 2016 election and allegations of collusion with the Trump campaign.

“This isn’t a partisan criticism, you know you’ve got Lindsey Graham and John McCain and others saying, ‘I’ve never seen anything quite like this,’ ” Rep. Jim Himes, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, said Wednesday on CNN’s “New Day.”

Mr. Graham, South Carolina Republican, has said that Mr. Nunes has “put his objectivity in question at the very least,” while Mr. McCain has said Mr. Nunes has some explaining to do.

“I’ve been around for quite a while, and I’ve never heard of any such thing,” the Arizona Republican said on CBS this week.

The comments are helping to shield Democrats from the charge they are simply looking to score political points.

Mr. Himes said on Wednesday that Democrats and Republicans have been left in the dark about why he visited the White House grounds to view sensitive documents and then held an impromptu press conference on the White House lawn to announce that U.S. intelligence agencies had inadvertently spied on and “unmasked” President Trump’s associates during surveillance of foreign adversaries.

“And a lot of us have, you know, a lot of history with Chairman Nunes and consider him a friend, but until we really get read into whatever drove last week’s behavior it is a little hard for us to, along with the rest of the American public, not make some about what is driving this very strange behavior.”

Mr. Himes said he and the rest of the committee is holding out hope that Mr. Nunes will explain his behavior.

“Oddly enough, he has not sort of communicated with us, or frankly with his own staff and with the Republicans on the committee, to give us a sense of where we are going forward,” he said.

• Seth McLaughlin can be reached at smclaughlin@washingtontimes.com.

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