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Nunes Talks About Protecting Trump on Leaked Audio

Rachel Maddow aired portions of the recordings, made at a closed-door fundraiser
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 9, 2018 7:29 AM CDT
Nunes Talks About Protecting Trump on Leaked Audio
Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif. speaks during a committee hearing on possible tariffs and the effect on the US economy and jobs on April 12, 2018, on Capitol Hill in Washington.   (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

(Newser) – "If Sessions won't unrecuse and Mueller won't clear the president, we're the only ones. Which is really the danger." That was just some of what House Intelligence Committee Chair Devin Nunes said in audio recorded at a private July 30 fundraiser in Spokane, Wash., and aired in part on the Rachel Maddow Show Wednesday night (listen to clips here). The Washington Post interprets the comments as an apparent shift "from criticizing the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election to strategizing about how to blunt its impact should it imperil President Trump." And in that effort, retaining control of Congress is key: "If we do not keep the majority, all of this goes away," he's heard saying on the tape, which was secretly recorded by a member of the progressive group Fuse Washington who'd paid $250 to attend the event. More:

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  • The other comments getting pickup center around Deputy Atty. Gen. Rod Rosenstein and the desire of hard-line House Republicans to see him impeached, something the Los Angeles Times reports some members suggest they'll rally for again next month. Nunes indicated that might not be the case. While NBC News reports Paul Ryan has been a roadblock in the impeachment effort, Nunes described two others: the midterms and the Supreme Court. "You have to decide what you want right now because the Senate only has so much time. Do you want them to drop everything and not confirm the Supreme Court justice [Brett Kavanaugh], the new Supreme Court justice? ... The question is the timing of it right before the election."
  • The Post notes that even had Nunes been speaking publicly, he might have said much the same: "This, after all, is the adamantly pro-Trump lawmaker who in February released a memorandum accusing the intelligence community of conspiring against the president."
  • Indeed, the Hill has this comment from Nunes' rep: "These are sensible ideas, I'm glad Chairman Nunes talked about them."
  • Democratic Rep. Ted Lieu didn't share that sentiment, tweeting, "Under our Constitution, the duty of Congress is not to clear the President. The duty of Congress is to be a check and balance on the Executive Branch, and to pursue the facts wherever they may lead. Devin Nunes should resign for perverting the oath he took."
(Read more Devin Nunes stories.)

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