Recording reveals Nunes saying Rosenstein impeachment would complicate Kavanaugh confirmation
Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) told supporters at a recent fundraiser that impeaching Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein 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.
“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 Rodgers (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 Ryan (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 Mueller’s investigation, as well as the probe into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’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 Meadows (R-N.C.) said he would instead pursue contempt charges if the DOJ does not turn over the documents.