Hard-line conservative Republicans in the House recently hit a roadblock in their effort to impeach Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein when Speaker Paul Ryan opposed the move. But one of those conservatives, Rep. Devin Nunes of California, gave a different explanation to donors recently when asked why the impeachment effort had stalled.
He said it’s because an impeachment would delay the Senate’s confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.
Nunes, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, made the statement in an audio recording surreptitiously made by a member of a progressive group who attended a Republican fundraiser on July 30 in Spokane, Washington. The recording was obtained by “The Rachel Maddow Show” and was played on MSNBC on Wednesday night.
Asked about the impeachment plans, Nunes told a questioner that “it’s a bit complicated” because “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.”
“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,” Nunes said. “So it’s not a matter that any of us like Rosenstein. It’s a matter of, it’s a matter of timing.”
Conservative lawmakers have accused Rosenstein of trying to stymie congressional oversight of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign.
The audio of the Spokane fundraiser was obtained by the Maddow show from a member of the “Fuse Washington” progressive group who paid the $250 fee to attend the dinner. The event was a fundraiser for Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash. A spokesperson for her campaign had no comment on the recording and Nunes’ office didn’t return calls for comment.