02:09 - Source: CNN
Rep. Nunes behind 'unmasking' subpoenas

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House intelligence committee chairman Devin Nunes step aside from his probe earlier this year

He was asked Tuesday about issuing subpoenas related to the investigation

CNN  — 

House intelligence committee Chairman Devin Nunes declined Tuesday to say if he had stepped aside from the House Russia probe – deflecting questions about his role one week after he signed off on the first subpoenas in the investigation.

“Good try,” Nunes said, when asked if he had stepped aside and if he would continue signing subpoenas. Nunes announced in April he was temporarily stepping aside from leading the investigation into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 elections, citing a series of ethics complaints filed against him.

When asked again about his role in his committee’s investigation, the California Republican said, “I’m not going to talk about intelligence committee business.”

Rep. Michael Conaway, the Texas Republican now overseeing the Russia investigation in Nunes’ place, sounded unbothered about Nunes’ continued role.

“We’ll get the ones issued that we need issued. Devin has the broader responsibilities on the committee than I do,” Conaway told CNN Tuesday. “So, we’ll get every subpoena that (ranking Democrat Rep.) Adam (Schiff) and I want.”

Top Democrats in the House raised their ire last week after Nunes signed off on four subpoenas in the Russia investigation – and sent three more subpoenas focused on leaks and “unmasking.”

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi raised the issue of Nunes’ continued involvement in the probe in conversations with House Speaker Paul Ryan. And Schiff said Nunes’ role clearly violated his promise to step aside.

But other Democrats downplayed concerns Tuesday.

“I just think it’s a big distraction, the jostling between Nunes and Conaway and whoever else,” said a Democratic committee source. “It’s just getting in the way.”