Politics & Government

As Nunes steps aside, Gowdy takes leadership role in Russia probe


South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy will now be one of the top Republicans leading the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation into Russia.

On Thursday Chair Devin Nunes, R-Calif., announced he was stepping aside in light of accusations filed against him in the Office of Congressional Ethics. Nunes called the charges “entirely false and politically motivated” but said it was in the “best interests” of the committee to have someone else take over.

Rep. Mike Conaway, R-Texas, will take the temporary lead on the investigation into Russia’s alleged interference in the U.S. election. Gowdy, who represents Greenville and Spartanburg, will join Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Fla., in helping Conaway with the investigation.

“I believe it is in the best interests of the House Intelligence Committee and the Congress for me to have Representative Mike Conaway, with assistance from Representatives Trey Gowdy and Tom Rooney, temporarily take charge of the Committee’s Russia investigation while the House Ethics Committee looks into this matter,” Nunes said in a statement Thursday morning. “I will continue to fulfill all my other responsibilities as Committee Chairman, and I am requesting to speak to the Ethics Committee at the earliest possible opportunity in order to expedite the dismissal of these false claims.”

Gowdy is also a member of the House Ethics Committee.

Previously, Gowdy was chair of the Select Committee on Benghazi. The panel conducted investigations from May 2014 to June 2016, into the 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi, including a marathon 11-hour appearance by former secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The attack resulted in the death of four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens.