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

Rep. Devin NunesDevin Gerald NunesHouse passes annual intelligence bill Democrats' opposition research got exposed — this time, not by the Russians GOP consultant sued by Nunes asks for help paying legal costs 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 TrumpCould Donald Trump and Boris Johnson be this generation's Reagan-Thatcher? Merkel backs Democratic congresswomen over Trump How China's currency manipulation cheats America on trade MORE, citing special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerTop Republican considered Mueller subpoena to box in Democrats Kamala Harris says her Justice Dept would have 'no choice' but to prosecute Trump for obstruction Dem committees win new powers to investigate Trump MORE’s probe.

Nunes, speaking at a closed-door event for Rep. Cathy McMorris RodgersCathy McMorris RodgersOvernight 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 Lawmakers celebrate 100th anniversary of women getting the right to vote 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.