Nunes' decision to step away from the committee's probe follows weeks of controversy over the chairman's handling of the investigation and his exposure of intelligence information that critics say both violated ethics rules and threatened the investigation's independence from a White House that has consistently attempted to sway the focus of the congressional inquiry.
According to the New York Times, Schiff has stated that Nunes's decision to step aside is in the "best interests of the investigation" and "will allow us to have a fresh start moving forward".
Nunes has been facing increasing scrutiny ever since it was revealed last month that he paid a visit to the White House one day before he revealed that President Donald Trump and his associates may have been picked up in incidental surveillance collection during the 2016 election.
So he's going to stay as chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, the full committee, but he's going to leave the Russian Federation investigation to his colleagues, including Mike Conaway of Colorado, Trey Gowdy of SC and other top Republicans on the panel.
While saying that Nunes, a California Republican, continues to have his trust, Ryan said the new ethics probe would be a "distraction", and called on Conaway to take the lead on the Russian Federation investigation. It was subsequently reported the intelligence Nunes spoke about had come from two officials inside the White House.
Trump campaign's alleged Russia links are being probed by the intelligence committees of the House of Representatives and the Senate as well as the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which is also investigating allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 polls.
The committee was originally tasked with examining how Russian Federation interfered in last year's presidential campaign and whether any Trump aides or associates collaborated with Moscow. Richard Burr, R-N.C., said that with the temporary step, Nunes "has made the move he felt necessary to protect the viability of his Committee and its investigation going forward".
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The group and another called Democracy 21 asked for the ethics investigation after Nunes disclosed last month that US intelligence intercepts had swept up foreign communications of Trump transition team members.
In the case of Nunes, the Ethics Committee began an investigation without waiting for OCE to take up the matter.
For Conaway, a Republican from Midland and a senior member of the intelligence panel, the assignment represents a sudden leap into the center of a gripping national drama over the USA intelligence and diplomatic apparatus, Russian agents, and leading figures in both the Trump and Obama administrations.
Because what Nunes has revealed from this information he got is that allegedly the former national security adviser, Susan Rice, might have been asking inappropriately to reveal the names of people including Trump transition aides as part of the intelligence that she was getting from the Intelligence Committee.
Conaway, who is also chairman of the House Agriculture Committee and a former House Ethics chairman, is respected as an administrator and investigator.
He added that he wants to speak to the ethics office as soon as possible "to expedite the dismissal of these false claims". Instead, it said it is aware of "public accusations" that Nunes "may have made unauthorized disclosures of classified information, in violation of House Rules, law, regulations, or other standards of conduct". There was concern that the presser showed Nunes was too entangled with Trump to properly investigate the Trump campaign.
A Republican congressman familiar with the situation told CNN that the ethics committee complaint against Nunes runs the risk of changing the way the intelligence committee does its job.