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Top aide in Kenneth Starr investigation will vote for Dems for first time

A lifelong Republican and former aide during the Kenneth Starr investigation into President Clinton said he will be voting for a Democrat in a federal election for the first time in his life.

Paul Rosenzweig told CNN’s Matt Berman on Monday that his decision comes after the Republican Party's “abdication of responsibility.”

“The Republican Party, seems to me, to no longer deserve my support or frankly the support of anybody who thinks that the legislative branch should act as a check and balance against executive authoritarianism,” Rosenzweig said.

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Rosenzweig cited a tape which surfaced of Rep. Devin NunesDevin Gerald NunesBiden's Cabinet a battleground for future GOP White House hopefuls Overnight Defense: Trump loyalist to lead Pentagon transition | Democrats ask VA for vaccine distribution plan | Biden to get classified intel reports Ex-Nunes aide linked to Biden conspiracy theories will lead Pentagon transition MORE (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, suggesting a GOP majority in the House is needed to protect President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump rages against '60 Minutes' for interview with Krebs Cornyn spox: Neera Tanden has 'no chance' of being confirmed as Biden's OMB pick Pa. lawmaker was informed of positive coronavirus test while meeting with Trump: report MORE from special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerCNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump CNN anchor rips Trump over Stone while evoking Clinton-Lynch tarmac meeting The Hill's 12:30 Report: New Hampshire fallout MORE's Russia investigation. 

“Essentially Rep. Nunes has said aloud what everybody was assuming, which is that his only goal and apparently the only goal of the party is to defend the president no matter what,” Rosenszwieg said.

“And that’s just not the right way for a legislative branch to function,” he added.

Nunes, speaking at a private fundraiser for Rep. Cathy McMorris RodgersCathy McMorris RodgersOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Republicans in campaign mode for top spots on House environmental committees | Peterson loss prompts scramble for House Agriculture chair Republicans in campaign mode for top spots on House environmental committees Conservatives seize on New York Post story to push Section 230 reform MORE (R-Wash.) earlier this month, 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,” Nunes said.

Rosenzweig, who also previously served in the Department of Homeland Security, said Nunes has lost his credibility as chairman of House Intelligence Committee.

“The intelligence committees in particular have a special responsibility to both maintain the security of the United States and protect our civil liberties,” Rosenzweig said on CNN.

“The fact that Congressman Nunes is so willing to forgo that responsibility completely in favor of defending the president really drains him and, I’m sad to say, the party that I’ve been a part of all of my adult life, of their moral authority,” he continued.

The Hill has reached out to Nunes's office for comment. 

Rosenzweig said that a Democratic-controlled Congress would not serve his interests as a conservative but would maintain the nation’s “integrity.”

He is the latest Republican who said he will be voting against his party during November’s midterm elections.

He is joined by GOP strategist Steve Schmidt, former Washington Post columnist George F. Will and longtime conservative commentator Phil Heimlich in supporting Democrats.