"If Sessions won't un-recuse and Mueller won't clear the president, we're the only ones, which is really the danger", he said on the recording.
Nunes announced previous year that he would step aside from his own committee's investigation into Russian interference after the House Ethics Committee said it was examining allegations that he "may have made unauthorized disclosures of classified information". "If we do not keep the majority, all of this goes away".
Make no mistake, a Mueller firing is a drastic step, but there's no guarantee it won't happen, especially if the Russian Federation investigation starts hitting closer to home.
In the recording Devin Nunes, a Republican Congressman and chair of the House Intelligence Committee, admitted that: "We have to keep the majority".
But it was in private, at a closed-door fundraiser for a Republican colleague, that Nunes took the new step of tying the investigation to the midterm elections this fall.
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Nunes was "caught" on tape stating the obvious: that Republicans needed to retain their majority in the U.S. House of Representatives to protect President Donald Trump from impeachment. But, for House Republicans, you see a real, I think, conflict between their role as balancing out the executive branch - they are in charge of a separate and equal branch of government - vs. supporting a president whose policy goals they think they can help.
Those priorities include pushing Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, through Senate confirmation, and potentially making another run at impeaching Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Either way, he said, such a power move would have to wait until after Kavanaugh is confirmed by the Senate.
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.
"It's a matter of timing", Nunes said. But ultimately let's say the Portuguese came and brought her some stolen emails. "I don't think we should be cavalier with this process or term". Okay, now we have a problem, right?
"Well, and you have to decide what you want right now because the Senate only has so much time", he added. "Well, if that's the case, then that's criminal".
Site highlights each day to your inbox. Since Jeff Sessions is recused on the matter of the Russian Federation probe, the responsibility of deciding whether or not to fire Mueller, if Trump were to ask for this, falls to Rosenstein.