Recording reveals Nunes saying Rosenstein impeachment would complicate Kavanaugh confirmation

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.) told supporters at a recent fundraiser that impeaching Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod Jay RosensteinTrump nominates Jeffrey Rosen to replace Rosenstein at DOJ McCabe says ‘it’s possible’ Trump is a Russian asset McCabe: Trump ‘undermining the role of law enforcement’ MORE would pose a political dilemma because it would delay the confirmation process for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, according to audio obtained by MSNBC.

Nunes, who has been among the most vocal critics of Rosenstein and the Department of Justice (DOJ), reasoned to supporters that the impeachment process was "a bit complicated" because the Senate would have to deal with much of the fallout. 

"Do you want them to drop everything and not confirm the Supreme Court justice, the new Supreme Court justice?" Nunes said in the recording, which was first obtained by MSNBC's "The Rachel Maddow Show" and aired Wednesday night.

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"The Senate would have to drop everything they're doing ... and start with impeachment on Rosenstein," he continued. "And then take the risk of not getting Kavanaugh confirmed. So it's not a matter that any of us like Rosenstein. It's a matter of ... timing."

MSNBC obtained the recording from the progressive group Fuse Washington, which paid to attend a fundraiser 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.) at which Nunes gave a speech.

“These are sensible ideas, I’m glad Chairman Nunes talked about them," Jack Langer, a spokesman for Nunes, said in a statement to The Hill. Nunes is the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.

Nunes's explanation for the delay seems to differ from other conservative lawmakers, who backed off the impeachment proposal after meeting with party leadership and after retiring Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Sanders set to shake up 2020 race McCabe: No one in 'Gang of Eight' objected to FBI probe into Trump Unscripted Trump keeps audience guessing in Rose Garden MORE (R-Wis.) said he did not support the effort.

A group of conservative House lawmakers late last month introduced articles of impeachment against Rosenstein amid escalating tensions between the two sides.

The representatives have hounded Rosenstein for DOJ documents related to special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE's investigation, as well as the probe into former Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonSanders campaign reports raising M in less than a day The Memo: Bernie Sanders’s WH launch sharpens ‘socialist’ question Roger Stone invokes gag order in new fundraiser MORE's use of a private email server. They also allege that Rosenstein has a conflict of interest in overseeing Mueller's investigation.

After backing off the prospect of impeachment, House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsThe Hill's Morning Report — Presented by the American Academy of HIV Medicine — Trump, Congress prepare for new border wall fight Winners and losers in the border security deal GOP braces for Trump's emergency declaration MORE (R-N.C.) said he would instead pursue contempt charges if the DOJ does not turn over the documents.