Lifelong Republican Explains Why Nunes Tape Was the Tipping Point for Him Voting Democrat: GOP's Only Goal Is 'to Defend the President'

Paul Rosenzweig said the tape of Rep. Devin Nunes drains the GOP "of their moral authority."

Paul Rosenzweig and Rep. Devin Nunes

Paul Rosenzweig, a lifelong Republican who worked with Kenneth Starr during the investigation of Bill Clinton, on Monday said he will now vote for a Democrat in the presidential election, arguing a clip of House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) voicing the need to protect Donald Trump proves the party “no longer deserves [his] support.”

In a tape released last Thursday, Nunes—speaking to Republicans at a closed-door fundraiser—said retaining a GOP-majority Congess is instrumental to keeping Trump in power.

“If Sessions won't un-recuse and Mueller won't clear the president, we're the only ones,” Nunes told supporters lsat month.

Rosenzweig said that comment sparked the first time in a federal election he will vote for the Democratic party.

“It's the abdication of responsibility,” Rosenzweig explained. “The Republican Party seems to me to no longer deserve my support or, frankly the support of anybody who thinks that the legislative branch should act as a check and a balance against executive authoritarianism. Essentially, Rep. Nunes has said aloud what everybody is assuming, which is that his only goal and apparently the only goal of the party is to defend the president no matter what. And just that's not the right way for a legislative branch to function.”

Rosenzweig also ripped Nunes for abdicating his oversight role as House Intelligence Committee chairman.

“The intelligence committee has had a long and historical commitment to bipartisan oversight and inquiry of the activities of the intelligence community,” the lifelong Republican said. “…By and large since the 1970s, the idea of intelligence oversight has been the idea of the legislative branch standing as a bulwark against executive overreach.”

“The fact that congressman Nunes is so willing to forego that responsibility completely in favor of defending the president really drains him and—I’m sad to say—the party that I've been a part of for all of my adult life of their moral authority,” Rosenzweig argued.

Rosenzweig admitted that voting for Democrats won’t advance any “policy issues that are important” to him, but said “it would on the much larger issue of maintaining the nation's integrity, maintaining the rule of law, opposing a president who thinks the press is all fake news, who has spent the last year attacking the integrity of law enforcement, who has systemically derided the idea that Russia has attempted to and may have succeeded in interfering in our elections who has welcomed and embraced white nationalism.”

“That's not the Republican Party that I'm a part of,” Rosenzweig told CNN’s John Burnham. “That’s not the conservative view that I continue to adhere to.”

Watch below:

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Elizabeth Preza is the Managing Editor of AlterNet. Follow her on Twitter @lizacisms.