Senate SCOTUS Confirmation Preventing Rosenstein Impeachment, Nunes Says

Leaked audio from a Republican fundraiser also warns of Trump impeachment risk

Audio was leaked of House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif. revealing why the House has not impeached Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House chosing to refrain from impeaching Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein could have more to do with the Supreme Court than anything else.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes said the reason the House has not voted to impeach Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is because of the Senate’s need to confirm a Supreme Court justice.

Nunes made the comment at a fundraiser for House Republican Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers, according leaked audio obtained by NBC and played on the Rachel Maddow Show.

If the House voted to impeach Rosenstein it would “trigger” the Senate to start the process, Nunes said, which gets in the way of the confirmation process for President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court pick Brett Kavanaugh.

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

Nunes said this did not mean that he opposed impeaching the Deputy Attorney General.

“I’ve said publicly Rosenstein deserves to be impeached,” he said. “The question is the timing of it right before the election.”

Conservatives who want to impeach Rosenstein accuse him of improperly handling the Russia investigation and not complying with Congressional requests.

Nunes also told the guests that Republicans are the safeguard against Trump being impeached.

“If Sessions won’t un-recuse and Mueller won’t clear the president, we’re the only ones. Which is really the danger,” he said. “I mean we have to keep all these seats. We have to keep the majority. If we do not keep the majority, all of this goes away.”

Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call on your iPhone or your Android.