Make recusal permanent, Rep. Nunes

U.S. Rep. Devin Nunes has recused himself “temporarily” from the House Intelligence Committee investigation into Donald Trump’s alleged connection to Russian government hackers.

Fine. Let’s make the recusal permanent, shall we?

Moreover, let’s work to institute an independent investigation into the potentially grave matter and take it completely out of the hands of partisan politicians.

Nunes chaired the Intelligence panel. Then he revealed he had some knowledge of “incidental surveillance” being done on Trump campaign officials. He ventured to the White House secretly and met in private with the president.

The former chairman managed to compromise his independence completely. After all, he had served on Trump’s transition team. From where I sit, he is too close to the subject of his committee’s investigation.

The Intelligence Committee chairmanship now falls to Mike Conaway, a Texas Republican. He pledges to carry the investigation forward.

I fear that won’t be good enough.

This matter is beginning to swallow up Congress as well as the White House. Politics is threatening to get in everyone’s way while the questions continue to surround the president, his campaign staff and even his governing administration.

Did the campaign collude with the Russians to influence the 2016 presidential election? Did the president defame former President Obama by accusing him falsely of ordering a wiretap prior to Trump taking office?

Republicans tend to give the president a pass on all of this; Democrats are quick to convict him of all of the above.

Independence is required to produce a thorough and unbiased investigation.

Nunes’ recusal is a start toward that end. Let’s finish it by handing it over to an independent counsel.