Nunes suggested at private fundraiser that GOP majority is needed to protect Trump

Rep. Devin NunesDevin Gerald NunesJim Carrey targets McCarthy, Nunes ahead of midterms Police close Nunes district office as protesters rally outside Top aide in Kenneth Starr investigation will vote for Dems for first time MORE (R-Calif.) suggested at a private fundraiser last week that Republicans have to maintain control of the House in order to protect President TrumpDonald John TrumpGillibrand urges opposition to Kavanaugh: Fight for abortion rights 'is now or never' Trump claims tariffs on foreign nations will rescue US steel industry: report Bannon announces pro-Trump movie, operation team ahead of midterms: report MORE, citing special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE’s probe.

Nunes, speaking at a closed-door event for Rep. Cathy McMorris RodgersCathy McMorris RodgersThe Hill's 12:30 Report Top aide in Kenneth Starr investigation will vote for Dems for first time Vulnerable Republicans include several up-and-coming GOP leaders MORE (R-Wash.) last Monday, said that “if [Attorney General Jeff] Sessions won’t unrecuse and Mueller won’t clear the president, we’re the only ones.”

“Which is really the danger … we have to keep all these seats,” he continued. “We have to keep the majority. If we do not keep the majority, all of this goes away.”

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The audio was recorded by a member of the progressive group Fuse Washington, which paid to attend the event and provided the audio to MSNBC's "The Rachel Maddow Show." Maddow aired the audio on her show Wednesday night.

“These are sensible ideas, I’m glad Chairman Nunes talked about them," Jack Langer, a spokesman for Nunes, said in an email to The Hill.

Nunes, an ally of the president who chairs the House Intelligence Committee, recused himself from his committee’s investigation into Russian election interference last year after he made a private trip to the White House to see documents he described as showing that members of Trump's White House transition team had their identities unmasked in intelligence reports.

Trump has recently escalated his attacks on Mueller’s investigation, calling for Sessions to shut down the probe.

Trump's lawyers later downplayed his request, stating that the president was expressing his opinion and not giving an order.

Sessions recused himself from the Russia investigation after it was revealed that he had contact with Russian officials during the 2016 presidential race, when he was acting as an adviser and surrogate for the Trump campaign, that he did not disclose during his Senate confirmation.

Sessions, who represented Alabama in the Senate during the 2016 race, has said that he did not recall the interactions until they were detailed in media reports.

Updated at 10:10 p.m.