One of California’s 14 Republican representatives in the U.S. House is perhaps not as famous as some of his colleagues. Devin Nunes and Kevin McCarthy have made their names during the Trump administration as reliable lackeys. Darrell Issa and Duncan Hunter played thorn-in-the-side to President Barack Obama.
Dana Rohrabacher has flown mainly under the radar. Most recently, he’s known for asking ridiculous questions about life on Mars during a funding hearing for the 2020 Rover program.
But one thing he’s always been known as, or at least for most of the last decade, is “Putin’s favorite congressman.” Rohrabacher has supported Russia in every way possible, for as long as he’s been in Congress. And it’s not just his hilariously bad decision to state publicly he would give Alaska back:
@YoImSean If majority of people legally residing in Alaska want to be part of Russia then its OK with me
— Dana Rohrabacher (@DanaRohrabacher) April 2, 2014
The congressman sided with them in the Russo-Georgian War in 2008. He favored Putin’s annexation of Crimea. He was even warned in 2012 by our own FBI that Russian spies were trying to “recruit” his services. His Russophilia is so deep, last year his CA colleague (who happens to be U.S. House Majority Leader) McCarthy joked that Rohrabacher may just be on Putin’s payroll:
Unfortunately, Rohrabacher may just end up turning McCarthy’s claim that it was a joke into a lie.
According to a new report from The Daily Beast, Rohrabacher was asked by the Russian government to stage a pro-Putin “show trial” — on the floor of the U.S. House — in order to ease sanctions levied against the hostile power under the Magnitsky Act. If that name sounds familiar to you, it’s because that’s what Donald Trump, Jr. and Kremlin lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya claimed their meeting was about, although it is now known that the June 2016 meeting that just keeps getting worse was actually about gathering opposition info on Hillary Clinton.
The details of the “show trial” Rohrabacher was to have held are all in the Beast report, but the highlights are:
- A pro-Kremlin propaganda film the congressman intended to show in the House
- A star “witness” in the “trial” against the sanctions — Ms. Veselnitskaya herself
- Details on Rohrabacher’s delay of passage of the Magnitsky Act
- A document marked confidential, reviewed by TDB, that detailed the Russian plan to change U.S. Congress members’ minds about sanctions
- A smoking email chain linking the whole thing together
In fact, Rohrabacher’s intern, Catharine O’Neill, sent out invitations to a screening of the propaganda film after the congressman himself was prevented from showing it on the floor of the House. His spokesman denied his office was involved (in his intern’s actions), and Catharine O’Neill now has a job within the Trump administration.
All of this sounds disgustingly familiar. Frankly, it’s terrifying to continue to find out just how many (and to what extent) Republicans were and are willing to sell this country out to Vladimir Putin.
Featured image via Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images