Reprinted with permission from AlterNet.
In a newly released recording of Rep. Devin Nunes at a recent GOP fundraiser, the California Republican made explicit what many have long suspected regarding his actions toward special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe: He views his main task not as getting to the truth or fighting for justice but as protecting President Donald Trump.
The audio was first released Wednesday night on MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show.” Maddow said it was provided to her by the progressive group Fuse Washington, which bought a ticket to the fundraising event.
Speaking on the topic of the probe, Nunes said in the recording: “If Sessions won’t un-recuse and Mueller won’t clear the president, we’re the only ones — which is really the danger. That’s why I keep — and thank you for saying it, by the way — I mean, we have to keep all these seats.”
In other words, he believes the president will be in real danger if Republicans lose control of Congress next year, which would mean Nunes would lose control of the House Intelligence Committee that he chairs. Without that authority, the GOP would have much less power to hamper the Justice Department’s work, as Nunes has repeatedly tried to do.
It is clear that he intends to undermine the investigation because he lists keeping control of the House as an alternative to Attorney General Jeff Sessions — who is recused from the investigation and all related matters on the advice of ethics experts — taking control of the probe or to Mueller finding the president to be innocent.
It apparently isn’t a consideration among him and his colleagues that their role in Congress is not to protect the president but to be a check on his power.
“The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee is supposed to be an impartial investigator who follows the facts wherever they may lead,” said cybersecurity reporter Eric Geller on Twitter in response to the recording.
It’s also worth noting that Mueller and Deputy Attorney Rod Rosenstein, who currently oversees the investigation, are both Republicans who were highly respected across the board prior to the start of the investigation. Rosenstein was, in fact, appointed to his position by Trump himself.
Cody Fenwick is a reporter and editor. Follow him on Twitter @codytfenwick.