GOP Congressman Dana Rohrabacher-- He Still Carries On for Putin and Russia — May 21, 2017
In a 5/10/2017 Oval Office meeting, Demagogue Donald bragged to his close “chums,” Russian officials, about his 5/09/2017 firing of FBI director James Comey. In a White House document based on notes taken from inside the Oval Office and circulated as the official account of the meeting, Trump stated, “I just fired the head the head of the FBI. He was crazy, a real nut job.” Trump added, “I faced great pressure because of Russia. That’s taken off (CNN, Cillizza, 5/19/17, NY Times, Apuzzo, Haberman, & Rosenberg, 5/19/17).” No, Donald. With your comments and actions about Comey’s firing, the pressure over you and your staff’s connections to Russia has just been ratcheted up “big time.”
Trump is not the only “BFP”, Big Friend of Putin. Leading the congressional wing of this Putin/U.S. “bromance” is 15th -term Huntington Beach, California Representative Dana Rohrabacher. First elected in 1988, Cong. Rohrabacher (69) is known as one of Vladimir Putin’s biggest defenders in Washington (CQ 14 Political Almanac, 115th Cong. At Your Fingertips). Rep. Rohrabacher is a vocal opponent of American sanctions against Russia. He boasts of having lost a drunken arm- wrestling match in the 1990’s at a D.C. bar with Putin, then deputy mayor of St. Petersburg (Wash. Post, Viebeck, 12/17/16, NY Times, Apuzzo, Goldman, & Mazzetti, 5/19/17). Rohrabacher is one of a few members of the “Russia Caucus.” He is focused on increasing his group of House lawmakers sympathetic to Russia (Viebeck, 12/17/17, Appuzzo, et al, NY Times, 5/19/17).
Cong. Rohrabacher’s Russian connections have made headlines again. In a 5/17/2017 article by Adam Entous, the Washington Post reported on an audio recording of House Majority Leader Cong. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA). This 6/15/2016 recording was listened to and verified by the Wash. Post. On it, Majority Leader McCarthy, one of Trump’s closest congressional allies stated to Capitol Hill GOP leaders, “There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump.” McCarthy’s comment came a month before Trump clinched the GOP nomination. When some of the GOP lawmakers laughed at McCarthy’s Rohrabacher/Trump comment, McCarthy replied: “Swear to God.” House Speaker Paul Ryan(R-Wi.), present at this meeting, then instructed his GOP lieutenants to keep this conversation private, saying: “No leaks…This is how we know we’re real family here (Entous, Wash. Post, 5/17/17).” The GOP’s a “family”, all right. Its behavior is similar to a crime family. These remarks remained secret for nearly a year (Entous, Wash. Post, 5/17/17). When this Post article was printed, McCarthy responded that he had “made a joke that landed poorly.” Frankly, that’s lame “defense” #1—when GOPers insult people or make horrible but true statements, they’re just “telling a joke.” You often hear this “joke” defense made on GOP- FOX News and by GOP super-apologist Rush Limbaugh and all his wannabees.
And there is more. For years, the F.B.I. has believed that Russian agents have aggressively tried to influence Washington politics (NY Times, Apuzzo, Goldman, & Mazzetti, 5/19/17). The F.B.I. has taken seriously the possibility that Russian spies would target American politicians. As early as 2012, in a secure room in the Capitol, an F.B.I. agent told Cong. Rohrabacher that Russian spies were trying to recruit him as “an agent of influence”—someone the Russian government might be able to use to steer Washington policy-making. Then GOP Mich. Congressman Mike Rogers and Md. Dem. Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, senior members of the House Intelligence Committee, were present. At that meeting, according to Cong. Ruppersberger, both he and Cong. Rogers reminded Rep. Rohrabacher that “Russia is our adversary (NY Times, Apuzzo, et al).” In a 5/18/2017 telephone interview, Rohrabacher stated that the meeting with the F.B.I. had focused on Rohrabacher’s contact with “one member of the Russian Foreign Ministry” he had met in Moscow. Rohrabacher said, “They (the F.B.I.) were telling me he (the Russian) had something to do with some kind of Russian intelligence.” Rohrabacher added that the F.B.I. agent said that Moscow “looked at me as someone who could be influenced (Apuzzo, et al, NY Times).”
Cong. Rohrabacher said he appreciated the F.B.I. warning but “needed no reminder (Apuzzo, et al, NY Times, 5/19/17).” Cong. Rohrabacher, like Trump, has also downplayed the significance of Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. election. He told the LA Times in 3/2017 that “We (the U.S.) have tried to influence elections, everybody’s elections.” Rohrabacher argued that the “American people are being fed information that would lead them to believe that we need to be in a warlike stance when it comes to Russia (NY Times, Apuzzo et al, 5/19/17).” Cong. Rohrabacher clearly doesn’t want to believe, as his fellow Congressmen warned him, that Russia is an adversary. Rohrabacher remains confident that Trump’s Russia associates have “been savvy in their dealings with Russia (Apuzzo, et al).” Rohrabacher must be living in an alternate universe with Kellyanne Conway’s “alternative facts.”
Democrats are already targeting Rohrabacher’s congressional seat for the 2018 midterms. Hillary carried Rohrabacher’s 48th Cong. District (47.9%-46.2%). The 48th Congressional District (CD) is increasingly diverse. Rohrabacher’s vote for the awful GOP repeal Obamacare bill will certainly not help him. Well-funded real estate executive Harley Rouda has already decided to run and other top Democratic challengers may enter the race. Rouda is currently attacking Rohrabacher as “Putin’s favorite congressman.” Rouda stated, “it is the strangest thing imaginable in light of what all the intelligence agencies have said about Russia hacking the United States’ electoral process, yet he (Rohrabacher) carries on (NY Times, Apuzzo, et al, 5/19/17).”
Rohrabacher must not be able to “carry on” for Putin’s Russia. In 2018, Democrats and moderates in the 48th CD must come out in droves and say “No” to Rohrabacher. His years of coasting to victory must end. The 48th CD and America deserve better. For my previous blog post on Rohrabacher and Russia, read http://cameinonsaturdays.com/?s=congressman-rohrabachers-russia-caucus