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 Nunes10 declassified Russia collusion revelations that could rock Washington this fall Juan Williams: Trump, his allies and the betrayal of America Trump expected to nominate Texas GOP lawmaker to replace Dan Coats: report MORE (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, suggesting a GOP majority in the House is needed to protect President TrumpDonald John TrumpSarah Huckabee Sanders becomes Fox News contributor The US-Iranian scuffle over a ship is a sideshow to events in the Gulf South Korea: US, North Korea to resume nuclear talks 'soon' MORE from special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerMueller report fades from political conversation Trump calls for probe of Obama book deal Democrats express private disappointment with Mueller testimony 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 RodgersLawmakers deride FTC settlement as weak on Facebook Overnight Energy: Fight over fuel standards intensifies | Democrats grill Trump officials over rule rollback | California official blasts EPA chief over broken talks | Former EPA official says Wheeler lied to Congress EPA head clashes with California over how car emissions negotiations broke down 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.