Republicans’ bulwark around President Donald Trump could be imperiled this fall, Rep. Devin Nunes appeared to warn in a secretly recorded audio tape, if Democrats are able to seize control of the House of Representatives in November’s midterm elections.
“It’s like your classic catch-22 situation … This puts us in such a tough spot. If Sessions won’t unrecuse and Mueller won’t clear the president, we’re the only ones, which is really the danger,” Nunes (R-Calif.) said, according to the tape. “I mean, we have to keep all these seats. We have to keep the majority. If we do not keep the majority, all of this goes away.”
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The recording was obtained and aired by “The Rachel Maddow Show” on MSNBC on Wednesday night. Nunes allegedly made the comments, which touch on Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Special Counsel Robert Mueller, at a private fundraiser last month for Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.).
Nunes, who chairs the House Intelligence Committee, has been among the president’s most staunch defenders on Capitol Hill, parroting the president’s complaints about Mueller’s Russia investigation and the media. The California congressman has become something of a controversial figure among lawmakers, recusing himself last year from the his committee’s Russia investigation after reports surfaced that Nunes relied on evidence he reviewed inside the White House compound to back the president’s claim that his transition team had been the subject of government surveillance.
Shortly before Congress began its summer recess, members of the arch-conservative House Freedom Caucus filed a resolution to impeach Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. According to the tape, Nunes said that impeachment would come down to timing.
“I’ve said publicly Rosenstein deserves to be impeached,” Nunes said. “The question of the timing of it right before the election.”
A Nunes spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.