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

Rep. Devin NunesDevin Gerald NunesThe Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Kidney Care Partners — Lawmakers scramble as shutdown deadline nears ‘Fox & Friends’ host asks if McCabe opening FBI probe into Trump was attempt to ‘overthrow government’ Nunes says GOP lawmakers looking through Russia transcripts, will make DOJ referrals 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 TrumpAverage tax refunds down double-digits, IRS data shows White House warns Maduro as Venezuela orders partial closure of border with Colombia Trump administration directs 1,000 more troops to Mexican border 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 RodgersHillicon Valley: Republicans demand answers from mobile carriers on data practices | Top carriers to stop selling location data | DOJ probing Huawei | T-Mobile execs stayed at Trump hotel as merger awaited approval House Republicans question mobile carriers on data practices Washington governor announces killer whale recovery plan 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.