Rohrabacher Braves Boos and Hecklers at Politicon

Congressman joins panel discussion on Trump and Russia

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., and Sen. Ted Lieu, D-Calif., second from left, take part in a panel discussion called “From Russia With Trump” with, from left, Dr. Vince Houghton, Ana Navarro, and Malcolm Nance during Politicon at Pasadena Convention Center on Sunday. (Joshua Blanchard/Getty Images for Politicon)

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher’s appearance at Politicon got off to a rocky start with the crowd booing his entrance. The atmosphere didn’t improve much as people began shouting, “Shame on you!”

The California Republican, who joined a panel discussion at the Pasadena political convention Sunday, said he appreciated the chance to speak with people “who obviously don’t like me.”

The talk, “From Russia with Trump,” drew Rohrabacher into unfriendly territory as he went up against a crowd and fellow panelists with whom he disagreed. The congressman faced criticism for his pro-Russia stances, though news reports that Rohrabacher violated federal sanctions concerning Russia were not brought up.

“There are some bad guys in Russia and Putin is one of them,” Rohrabacher said, according to The Los Angeles Times. The congressman said Putin was similar to “Mayor Daley and his gang,” a reference to the late Democratic political leader from Chicago.

Rohrabacher also criticized former President Barack Obama as well as Hillary Clinton and the Clinton Foundation. This upset the crowd, with one man yelling, “Fox News talking points!”

As the conversation continued, Rohrabacher repeatedly faced disruptions from the crowd, including hissing and laughter. With the convention just 50 miles from Rohrabacher’s district, people called for the congressman to hold a town hall.

In response to the heckling, Rohrabacher quipped, “It’s usually fascists who don’t let somebody talk.”

The Golden State congressman prompted even more disapproval from the crowd and panel when he questioned the evidence unearthed in special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation into Russian meddling in U.S. elections. Fellow panelist Democratic Rep. Ted Lieu shot back.

“You can believe Trump’s CIA director, Trump’s NSA director, Trump’s director of national intelligence. Or you can believe Dana Rohrabacher,” Lieu said to applause from the crowd.

Rohrabacher pushed back against criticism, asking if any of the other panelists had ever been to Russia, which none had. The congressman is currently facing a complaint, however, that he violated federal sanctions by taking information from a Russian official.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has indentified Rohrabacher as a top target in 2018. Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates Rohrabacher’s district Lean Republican.

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