Nunes Explains Why Rosenstein Has Not Been Impeached In Leaked Audio

Posted August 10, 2018

"You have to decide what you want right now because the Senate only has so much time".

Republicans nationwide are facing headwinds going into the midterm elections, due in part to Trump's unpopularity and a steady churn of scandals surrounding the president and his administration.

The remarks appear to be a blunt assessment from Nunes, a top Trump ally in Congress who Democrats accuse of trying to help the White House with the Russian Federation probe, that Republicans must keep their House majority in the midterm elections to shield Trump from the special counsel investigation.

Nunes' comments on the timing of an impeachment fight echo what House Speaker Paul Ryan, who does not support the impeachment push, has publicly said.

"If Jeff Sessions won't un-recuse and Mueller won't clear the President, we're the only ones, which is really the danger".

Nunes said he thinks Rosenstein "deserves to be impeached", but noted that "the Senate would have to drop everything they're doing and start to, and start with impeachment on Rosenstein".

The audio, released by MSNBC's Rachel Maddow and recorded at a closed-door California fundraiser, shows Nunes admitting that collusion with a foreign government is a crime before offering a very narrow definition of that crime.

"If we do not keep the majority, all of this goes away", he said. "After all", tweeted University of Texas Law School professor Steve Vladeck, "this has been the only explanation - for quite some time - for his ridiculous behavior on everything from the unmasking scandal" to the "Rosenstein impeachment". "Do you want them to drop everything and not confirm the Supreme Court justice, the new Supreme Court justice?"

He also said that impeaching Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein - which he favors, in theory - would delay the confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court. Either way, he said, such a power move would have to wait until after Kavanaugh is confirmed by the Senate.

"I wouldn't rule it out, especially if the Republicans at least hold the Senate (if not also the House, though that seems less and less likely)". "It's impossible to predict with certainty how Trump would react, but odds are the President - like any father - would not handle it well".

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. Trump's cryptic Thursday tweet prompted some to ask, once again, whether Trump was hinting at a Mueller firing.

Sen. Mitch McConnell has said that he anticipates a Kavanaugh confirmation to happen by October 1, but that remains to be seen. "The question is the timing of it right before the election".

This is an opinion piece.