Photo: Alex Wong (Getty)

Devin Nunes—pathetic Donald Trump sycophant and yawningly corrupt California Republican congressman (in that order)—has been caught on tape telling GOP donors that keeping control of the House must be done for the express purpose of shielding the president from potential criminal prosecution.

The audio was made public by MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow on Wednesday evening.

If [Attorney General Jeff] Sessions won’t un-recuse [from matters relating to Special Council Robert Mueller’s investigation] and Mueller won’t clear the president, we’re the only ones — which is really the danger. That’s why I keep, and thank you for saying it by the way, 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.

The quote, recorded surreptitiously by a member of the progressive group Fuse Washington at a $250-per-head fundraiser on July 30 for Republican Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers in Spokane, WA, is part of a longer conversation in which Nunes explains that while he firmly believes that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein should be impeached for his role overseeing the Mueller investigation, to do so would impede Republicans’ ability to confirm Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

“The Senate would have to drop everything they’re doing and start to, and start with impeachment on Rosenstein, and then take the risk of not getting Kavanaugh confirmed,” Nunes explained.

While it’s hardly a surprise that Nunes—who has continually (and oftentimes hilariously) attempted to run a one man interference operation on behalf of the president—would see the role of House Republicans as Trump’s personal legal blockers, the fact that he would lay the claim out in such stark terms, even among friends, is a prime example of Republicans’ obsession with protecting Trump from perceived threats. And some Democrats have already taken notice.

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Fellow Californian Rep. Ted Lieu responded to the comments shortly after Maddow played them on her show, saying that Nunes had “perverted” his oath of office, and should resign.

Whether or not Nunes’ having said the quiet part loud will actually have an effect on the upcoming midterm elections remains to be seen. In terms of pitifully currying favor with Trump, however, the congressman sure seems to be on the right track.