Schiff also suggested that Republicans have refused to publicly release transcripts from the committee's witness interviews because that would help special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russian Federation probe MORE's investigation, which is examining ties between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation. They've unearthed some of his crimes, they're looking for more crimes, but you have Devin Nunes bragging about trying to stop the investigation against Putin and Russia's interference in American democracy.
"So if we actually vote to impeach, OK, what that does is that triggers the Senate then has to take it up", he said. 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. If Trump wants the House Republicans to do this dirty work for him through impeachment, as explained, that can't happen until Kavanaugh is confirmed, for the reasons Nunes gave.
An impeachment vote, Nunes said, would "tie the Senate into knots".
Interestingly, while Nunes has lobbied for the Russian Federation investigation to end, at the fundraiser he said getting stolen emails for use in a campaign would be a crime. "It's a matter of, it's a matter of timing".
"Well, and you have to decide what you want right now because the Senate only has so much time", he added.
Nunes also noted that while he supports impeaching Rosenstein, he knows it would be unpopular, and can't do that until after the election: "I've said publicly Rosenstein deserves to be impeached... the question is the timing of it right before the election".
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Nunes concludes by saying Republicans need to keep their majority in Congress to protect the president. "I don't think we should be cavalier with this process or term".
Rosenstein, who appointed and now supervises Mueller, defended the special counsel investigation when he was brought before the House Judiciary Committee earlier this summer. But at another point during the fundraiser, he addressed the issue of collusion, considering a hypothetical situation in which a campaign received stolen emails from a foreign power and then released them, labeling this activity "criminal".
In the portion of his remarks played on MSNBC, Nunes neither compares nor contrasts this scenario with the release in 2016 of private Democratic communications.
Finally, Nunes, touted by the president as a "Great American Hero", revealed at the fundraiser that even he sometimes winces at the Trump's online communications.
"If [Jeff] Sessions won't un-recuse, and Mueller won't clear the president, we're the only ones", Nunes said, according to the audio.