Devin Nunes, R-Calif., spoke, in October 2017, on Capitol Hill in Washington.
Leaked audio released on Wednesday night features Nunes talking to donors at a Spokane, Washington, fundraiser last week.
In private, at a closed-door fundraiser for colleague U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Spokane, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee took the new step of tying the Trump-Russia investigation to the midterm elections this fall.
But he goes beyond making it simply a political statement. Sessions said a year ago that he would keep his distance from inquiries related to the 2016 election owing to his role in Trump's campaign - a move that has frustrated the president, leading him to blame his own attorney general for the "Russian Witch Hunt Hoax".
"If Sessions won't unrecuse and Mueller won't clear the president, we're the only ones", Nunes says. The group also released a recording of comments the congresswoman made introducing Nunes to the crowd, in which she took swipes at her Democratic opponent for Eastern Washington's seat in Congress, Lisa Brown, and praised Trump's record on job creation.
When it comes to the oversight role regarding Russian meddling, the scorecard does not look favorable to Nunes. "It's a matter of, it's a matter of timing", he concluded.
The committee Nunes heads was tasked with investigating whether anyone from the Trump campaign may have collaborated with Russian attempts to influence the election, but its inquiry quickly became mired in partisan disputes. That conclusion backed what USA intelligence agencies - which Nunes oversees - had told Congress. Senate Republicans handle this whole matter differently. But the bluntness with which Nunes described the strategy-and the urgency with which he begged for financial support for an effort to retain power-exposed the committee chair as the sort of congressional miscreant that the founders most feared.
Which brings us back to the Constitution.
If President Donald Trump is going to fire special counsel Robert Mueller that also has to happen after the SCOTUS situation is resolved, so as not to grind the Senate to a halt on an issue that means much for Trump's legacy as president. They must vote to replace scoundrels who disregard their duty with patriots who are prepared, as Lieu suggests, "to be a check and balance on the Executive Branch, and to pursue the facts wherever they may lead". That is how the founders of our country designed our government to work.
The Constitution that Madison and his compatriots outlined in the summer of 1787 established a system of checks and balances that was meant to guard against an imperial presidency that might replace the rule of law with the rule of a president who might seek to make himself "a king for four years".