Rep. Devin Nunes, chairman of House Intelligence Committee, seen here...

Rep. Devin Nunes, chairman of House Intelligence Committee, seen here on June 21. Credit: Getty Images/Alex Wong

Any newness from Nunes?

On secretly recorded audio released by his political foes, you can hear Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), a key defender of President Donald Trump, speaking aloud on a matter of strategy that could be inferred without him.

Nunes, who was attending a Republican legislative fundraiser, said the priority of getting Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court nomination through the Senate would delay efforts to impeach Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

But House Speaker Paul Ryan has already said as much publicly. 

'We're the only ones'

However, the bigger take-away from the newly revealed audio is Nunes' efforts to reinforce the idea that if his party loses its majority in November, the president will then be vulnerable to any legal action that special counsel Robert Mueller might take against him.

"If [Attorney General Jeff] Sessions won’t unrecuse and Mueller won’t clear the president, we’re the only ones, which is really the danger,” Nunes 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."

Star wars, near and far wars 

Vice President Mike Pence took the helm at the Pentagon to outline plans for establishing a sixth military branch called the Space Force in 2020.

"Now the time has come to write the next great chapter in the history of our armed forces, to prepare for the next battlefield where America's best and bravest will be called to deter and defeat a new generation of threats to our people, to our nation," said Pence.

Trump will call on Congress to fund it with a hefty $8 billion over the next five years, Pence said.

Mudslinging in shorthand

Trump on Thursday blended a series of familiar but false and unexplained messages about the Mueller probe into a single tweet: "This is an illegally brought Rigged Witch Hunt run by people who are totally corrupt and/or conflicted. It was started and paid for by Crooked Hillary and the Democrats. Phony Dossier, FISA disgrace and so many lying and dishonest people already fired. 17 Angry Dems? Stay tuned!"

What else is happening: 

  • An attorney finished reviewing millions of items seized from probed ex-Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, and agreed with nearly half of the privilege-designation requests.
  • Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, a "voter-fraud" theorist and Trump ally, had his tiny lead in the GOP governor primary cut to a mere 91 votes after a tally-transmission error was found.
  • T.S. Ellis, the judge in ex-Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort's tax and bank fraud trial, admitted he should not have reprimanded prosecutors in front of the jury for allowing an IRS agent to hear prior testimony.

  • First lady Melania Trump's parents took the oath of U.S. citizenship on Thursday despite the president's hostility to "chain migration."

  • Rudy Giuliani  resumed his public-relations campaign for Trump against the Mueller probe by predicting that Mueller's case "isn't going to fizzle. It's going to blow up on them," thus darkly echoing the president.
  • House candidates on the Democratic line are behind a muscular gun-control agenda in the midterms, The Wall Street Journal reports.
  • A judge in Washington threatened to hold Sessions in contempt, stalling the case of a mother and daughter who were about to be deported.

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