US House Intelligence chairman cleared of disclosing classified information

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The US House Ethics Committee has cleared Representative Devin Nunes (R-California) on a complaint that he leaked classified information.

The ethics complaint was filed after Nunes disclosed at an unusual and hastily called news conference that an unidentified source told him dozens of intelligence reports included the names of Trump transition team members whom Nunes alleged were unfairly revealed in the reports.

Nunes stepped aside from leading the intelligence committee's investigation of Russian Federation and the 2016 USA presidential election in April as the Ethics panel said it was investigating allegations that he had disclosed classified information.

The ethics panel ruled that the information Nunes disclosed was not considered classified and would close the investigation into the allegations against the chairman.

The decision will allow Nunes to retake his seat at the forefront the House Intelligence Committee's investigation, often seen as the best counterbalance to Special Counsel Robert Mueller's own Russian Federation investigation, which has come under increasing fire over its possible politicization.

Nunes also said he was dismayed that the investigation took an "unbelievable" eight months to complete, and that it was conducted by the full committee outside of its typical process, which includes a non-partisan staff review of complaints before they are taken up by the committee.

In a statement, the panel said intelligence experts had concluded the information Nunes disclosed was not classified, so it would take no further action and the matter was closed. He has remained close to the investigation, though, retaining access to documents and subpoena power as the chairman of the intelligence panel. He also said he wanted the panel to release its transcripts of its interviews with him. Schiff did not immediately return a request for comment Thursday. The meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya has come under the microscope because Trump Jr. accepted the invitation from British publicist Rob Goldstone after being promised Veselnitskaya would provide incriminating information about Hillary Clinton.

Congressional investigators have uncovered emails that indicate parties involved in the June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower had subsequent communication after their summit, CNN reported Thursday. Goldstone helped set up the meeting. Kaveladze was at the meeting as a representative of the same Moscow-based family that Goldstone was representing. It's completely out of the blue.