Politics

Intel Committee Might Want to Hear From Rohrabacher on Russia

Democrats say he should be stripped of chairmanship of subcommittee on Russia

An aide to Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, D-Calif., said he would be happy to talk to the Senate Intelligence Committee about information he said he got from Wikileaks on last year’s DNC hack — after he shares it with President Donald Trump. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate Intelligence Committee might want California Rep. Dana Rohrabacher to testify about his meeting with WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange.

“He hasn’t been contacted by the committee, but is happy to talk with them after he talks with President Trump,” Ken Grubbs, an aide to the Republican, said to CNN in its report.

Rohrabacher met with Assange earlier this month at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where Assange is staying to avoid being extradited to Sweden for sexual assault charges. He came away from that meeting with what he called “earth-shattering” information on the hacking.

He said Assange denied that Russia was involved in the hacking of emails from the Democratic National Committee during last year’s presidential election.

But the DNC Deputy Communications Director Adrienne Watson dismissed Rohrabacher’s claims.

“We’ll take the word of the U.S. intelligence community over Julian Assange and Putin’s favorite Congressman,” she said in an emailed statement.

Rohrabacher gained the nickname of "Putin's favorite Congressman" since he has favored improving relations with Russia and has frequently praised Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Rorhabacher also said he would meet with President Donald Trump to discuss the information before revealing information to the public.

Rohrabacher is by not any indication under investigation by former FBI Director and Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating Russian interference in the election. 

Rohrabacher is chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee's subcommittee on Europe and Eurasia, which includes Russia.

He received campaign contributions from Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who is currently being investigated by Mueller.

After news broke of the Intelligence Committee’s interest in Rohrabacher, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee called on Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Rep. Ed Royce to remove Rohrabacher from his chair of the subcommittee overseeing Russia, calling Rohrabacher a “person of interest” in the Russia investigation.

“Failure to do so will further clarify that Ed Royce is unwilling to put country before party and unserious about the need to stop Russia from meddling in our elections,” DCCC spokesman Tyler Law said in a statement.

The DCCC is targeting Rohrabacher’s and Royce’s districts in California since both went for Hillary Clinton instead of Trump in 2016, according to liberal website the Daily Kos.

Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call on your iPhone or your Android.