Devin Nunes Ramps Up Attacks on Special Counsel Robert Mueller, Worrying Fellow Republicans.

Rep. Devin Nunes, once sidelined by an ethics inquiry from leading the House Intelligence Committee’s Russia probe, is reasserting the full authority of his position as chairman just as the GOP appears poised to challenge special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation of possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russian officials.

The California Republican was cleared in December of allegations he improperly disclosed classified information while accusing the Obama administration of exposing the identities of Trump affiliates on surveillance reports. Since clearing his name, Nunes has stepped up his attacks on Mueller’s team and the law enforcement agencies around it, including convening a group of Intelligence Committee Republicans to draft a likely report on “corruption” among the investigators working for the special counsel.

Though Nunes has not officially wrested his panel’s Russia probe back from the Republicans he deputized to run it, the chairman’s reemergence as a combative Trump loyalist has raised alarm among Democrats that the future of the investigation may be clipped short or otherwise undermined. Even some of Nunes’s GOP allies have expressed concern about his tactics, prompting rare public warnings that he should temper his attacks on federal law enforcement.

“I’m interested in getting access to the information and not the drama,” Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) said earlier this month, when Nunes began threatening contempt citations for FBI Director Christopher A. Wray and Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein in the wake of revelations former Mueller team members had exchanged anti-Trump texts.

More recently, Gowdy said that his “heart would be broken” if Nunes follows through on reported plans to issue a corruption exposé about the FBI, citing concerns that issuing such a report outside the context of a comprehensive investigation of the Justice Department could prove damaging to law enforcement.

Gowdy, a member of the Intelligence panel who also chairs the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, suggested that Nunes has taken some of these steps without the express blessing of House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.),who has been involved in crafting the GOP’s multipronged approach to examining a string of allegations from Russian election interference to alleged mismanagement at the nation’s top law enforcement agencies.

But Nunes’s moves coincide with what Democrats say is a coordinated GOP effort to shutter the House Intelligence Committee’s Russia probe, publicly absolve President Trump of the most serious allegations against him, and refocus the House’s resources against the law enforcement officials, such as Mueller, who continue to investigate Trump.

For months, Democrats have kept an unofficial count of the ways they say Nunes worked behind the scenes during the time he was under ethics investigation to slow or stymie the House Intelligence Committee’s Russia probe. Nunes never relinquished his sole, unchecked authority to sign off on subpoenas even as he handed the day-to-day operations to Reps. K. Michael Conaway (R-Texas), Gowdy and Thomas J. Rooney (R-Fla.). People familiar with the Intelligence committee’s work estimated Nunes’s effective veto cost Democrats dozens of requests for interviews and documents that were never sent out, despite repeated entreaties from the minority side.