Secret Recording Captures Devin Nunes Talking About Trump, Rosenstein Impeachment, And Kavanaugh Confirmation

Devin Nunes
Jose Luis Magana / AP Images

On July 30, at a fundraising dinner for Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.), Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) attended to speak on her behalf and try to help fill her campaign coffers ahead of a tight upcoming race. Nunes was doing everything someone in his position within the party is supposed to be doing aside from ensuring that what he was saying wasn’t recorded because what he had to say is the kind of stuff that reflects poorly not only on him but the party. He spent time talking about the possible impeachment of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, the need to protect President Donald Trump, and how the three have a difficult three months until the midterm elections take place.

According to the Huffington Post, a Nunes aide, Jack Langer, issued a statement which said that it was a good thing Nunes brought up the topics he did because they are important and sensible. Langer’s statement presents a problem on multiple levels. Part of the problem is that Nunes was advocating for things that party leadership has said they have no interest in or have taken an opposite stance on. Primarily, trying to impeach Rosenstein and the criminality of collusion. While Nunes said impeaching Rosenstein is a bad idea, it came with the kicker that he only believes it is a bad idea right now, and that should Republicans hold majorities after the midterm elections, Rosenstein needs to go.

The reason for that line of thinking is because if they move to impeach Rosenstein right now, everyone has to stop what they are doing to open up that hearing, which means the Kavanaugh confirmation process goes on hold until that is done and would likely be after the elections. If Nunes had any faith in Republicans holding a majority after the midterms, this wouldn’t matter. The fact that he is now scrambling so hard to focus everything on Kavanaugh after months of trying to put the pieces in place to oust Rosenstein means he does not believe President Donald Trump will carry the GOP to victory. Keep in mind, this is all just a matter of two weeks after Nunes tried to bring articles of impeachment against Rosenstein to party leadership only to be dismissed and mildly dressed down by House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.).

When asked by an attendee of the $250 plate dinner if the Rosenstein impeachment was forthcoming, Nunes explained why it isn’t for now as per NBC.

“It’s a bit complicated, we only have so many months left. So if we actually vote to impeach, OK, what that does is that triggers the Senate then has to take it up,” he said on the recording. “Well, and 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, the new Supreme Court justice? The Senate would have to drop everything they’re doing… and start with impeachment on Rosenstein. And then take the risk of not getting Kavanaugh confirmed, so it’s not a matter that any of us like Rosenstein. It’s a matter of, it’s a matter of timing.”

The audiotape, which was leaked by a member of the group Fuse Washington, has already begun causing some very uncomfortable conversations around GOP politicians, according to MSNBC. On one hand, Republicans are primarily maintaining not interfering with the Russia meddling investigation led by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, and Nunes statement that at least he and his Freedom Caucus has every intent to try to meddle with it if they are still in power after the midterm elections is problematic. While it is easy for many candidates to point out that they aren’t members of the Freedom Caucus, most voters don’t recognize that. They see the “R” behind the name and assume they are all in lockstep.

Nunes continually hammered home the message that if the Republicans lose too many seats, “All of this goes away,” meaning a possible Rosenstein impeachment, continued investigations into Hillary Clinton and her email server, pushing through judges regardless of qualification or endorsement by the American Bar Association, and the ability to block further investigations into Trump, his appointees, and Republican politicians. On the audio recording, Nunes explained what would happen if too many seats are lost, as reported by The Washington Post.

“If Sessions won’t unrecuse and Mueller won’t clear the president, we’re the only ones. Which is really the danger. 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.”

While Nunes’ aide was willing to comment on the content of the recording, Nunes himself has been unavailable, and Cathy McMorris Rodgers and her campaign staff have declined comment as well. There is still, for many Republicans and Trump or one of his spokespeople to answer, the issue surrounding Nunes saying that foreign collusion and possessing, procuring, or attempting to procure stolen emails is a crime, which completely contradicts the current White House stance on that issue, as per Newsweek.