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Recording reveals Nunes saying Rosenstein impeachment would complicate Kavanaugh confirmation

Rep. Devin NunesDevin Gerald NunesCPAC, all-in for Trump, is not what it used to be Sunday shows preview: 2024 hopefuls gather at CPAC; House passes coronavirus relief; vaccine effort continues Nunes lawsuit against CNN thrown out MORE (R-Calif.) told supporters at a recent fundraiser that impeaching Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod RosensteinRosenstein: Zero tolerance immigration policy 'never should have been proposed or implemented' Comey argues Trump shouldn't be prosecuted after leaving Oval Office Trump turns his ire toward Cabinet members 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: Biden signs order on chips | Hearing on media misinformation | Facebook's deal with Australia | CIA nominee on SolarWinds Democrats' letter targeting Fox, Newsmax for misinformation sparks clash during hearing House panel to dive into misinformation debate 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 RyanCPAC, all-in for Trump, is not what it used to be Cruz hires Trump campaign press aide as communications director Bottom line 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 (Bob) MuellerWhy a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel CNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump MORE's investigation, as well as the probe into former Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonMedia circles wagons for conspiracy theorist Neera Tanden The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by The AIDS Institute - Senate ref axes minimum wage, House votes today on relief bill Democratic strategists start women-run media consulting firm 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 MeadowsHow scientists saved Trump's FDA from politics Liberals howl after Democrats cave on witnesses Kinzinger calls for people with info on Trump to come forward MORE (R-N.C.) said he would instead pursue contempt charges if the DOJ does not turn over the documents.