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GOP congressman: ‘We can’t blame Putin’ for Russian election crimes

Putin’s favorite congressman, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, went to extraordinary lengths to defend both Putin and Russian criminal activity during the 2016 election, even attacking the U.S.

By Dan Desai Martin - July 18, 2018
Congressman Dana Rohrabacher

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) never misses an opportunity to defend Russia, even if it means attacking the United States of America in the process.

Less than a month after riding in a parade celebrating America’s independence, Rohrabacher appeared on Bloomberg TV to defend Russian criminals who interfered with the 2016 election, refusing to unilaterally condemn the illegal Russian activities.

“We can’t blame Putin for looking out for the interests of Russia when we helped overthrow the government of Ukraine, for Pete’s sake,” Rohrabacher said.

Just a few days before this interview, the U.S. Department of Justice did, indeed, blame Putin and Russia for the crimes the committed during the 2016 election.

Twelve Russian agents were indicted by special counsel Robert Mueller for hacking into Democratic email and computer networks in order to help Trump win the election. “All 12 defendants are members of the GRU, a Russian federation intelligence agency within the main intelligence directorate of the Russian military, who were acting in ‘their official capacities,’reports CNN.

When given the opportunity to unequivocally condemn Russia for crimes committed 2016 election, Rohrabacher passed.

After months of denials, Rohrabacher finally acknowledged Russia meddled in the 2016 election, but in the same breath attacked the U.S. using a massive qualifier: “But what the point is, we meddle in their elections. We meddle all over the world at a much higher rate than what Moscow does, and maybe it’s all wrong.”

Throughout the entire interview, Rohrabacher never criticized the Russian criminal activity without also attacking the United States. He never admitted Russia was actively seeking to support Trump in 2016. Watching the interview, it is not difficult to see how Rohrabacher earned the nickname “Putin’s favorite congressman.”

Rohrabacher has a long history with the Russian dictator, from a drunken armwrestling match in a Washington, D.C., dive bar (Rohrabacher lost), to lashing out against U.S. intelligence agencies, calling them “liars” for blaming Russia for criminal activities in the 2016 election.

As SoCal Daily previously reported:

Rep. Rohrabacher claimed U.S. intelligence agencies engaged in a massive plot to lie to the American people about Russian hacking in the 2016 election, saying American people ‘are being lied to by their own intelligence agencies claiming that the Russians hacked [the DNC].’  Rohrabacher even used air quotes as he mocked U.S. intelligence services, to emphasize his position.

In the Bloomberg interview, Rohrabacher did not admit Russia was behind the DNC hack; he only acknowledged Russia meddled in the election. As recently as May 2018, Rohrabacher was still spreading a malicious and debunked conspiracy theory about the DNC hack as an inside job.

Rohrabacher has yet to put out any official statement regarding the indictment of the 12 Russians for hacking the DNC and other Democrats. He did, however, find time to release a statement after embarrassing himself on a satire television show for seeming to support arming children with guns.

Since Trump’s election, Rohrabacher has been tied to multiple people involved in Russia-linked scandals.

Erik Prince, a Trump confidant and brother of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, was interviewed by special counsel Robert Mueller for questionable ties to Russia — and hosted a glitzy campaign fundraiser for Rohrabacher.

Trump high-ranking campaign official Rick Gates pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about the content of a 2013 meeting between Manafort and Rohrabacher.

Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya attended “a black-tie inaugural party hosted by the campaign committee of Rep. Dana Rohrabacher,” one of many events involving prominent Russians around Trump’s inauguration that “caught the attention of counterintelligence officials at the FBI,” according to the Washington Post.

Rohrabacher is also linked to Maria Butina, a Russian woman who was arrested for “trying to cultivate relationships with American politicians to establish ‘back channel’ lines of communication and seeking to infiltrate U.S. political groups … to advance Russia’s agenda,” according to the Washington Post.

During the election, California Republican Rep. Kevin McCarthy was caught on tape saying Rohrabacher is probably on Putin’s payroll.

And days after a dozen Russians were indicted for interfering in the 2016 election, Rohrabacher rushes in front of a television camera to reassure Russia and declare “we can’t blame Russia,” for their illegal activities.

If only he were so quick to defend American interests.

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