As the standoff escalated, Nunes began warning Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein -- the man in charge of special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation -- that he could face contempt of Congress, or even worse.
"We're not going to just hold in contempt," Nunes said to Fox News last month. "We will have a plan to hold in contempt and to impeach."
Nunes had already been offered time to review a copy of the electronic communication formally authorizing the FBI's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, but he had publicly demanded to see what was behind certain blacked out lines.
Facing the growing pressure, and outrage from President Donald Trump, Rosenstein finally relented in early April -- and granted Nunes and Rep. Trey Gowdy of South Carolina access to the document with only minimal redactions to protect the name of a foreign country and agent, along with all members of the House Intelligence Committee.
But when the pair arrived at the Justice Department to review the electronic communication, officials were caught off-guard by his next move. Nunes -- sitting with a copy of the document in an unopened folder directly in front of him -- opted not to read it, according to four sources with knowledge of the situation.
Gowdy, chairman of the House Oversight Committee, reviewed a copy and since then nearly a dozen other lawmakers have gone to the Justice Department to read the document, sources say.
As Nunes has moved aggressively to publicly sow doubt about the Russia investigation, the moment marked at least the second time that he has demanded sensitive documents from the Justice Department, only to choose not to read them -- allowing his staff or Gowdy to pore through the materials instead. The California Republican admitted in February that he did not read any applications under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to monitor former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.