Rep. Dana Rohrabacher said White House Chief of Staff John Kelly blocked a meeting between the California Republican and President Donald Trump.
Rohrabacher wanted to meet with the president to discuss his meeting last summer with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, whom Rohrabacher said showed him evidence that Russia did not interfere with the 2016 presidential election.
But Rohrabacher told The Intercept that Kelly told him that meeting with Trump could put the president in the crosshairs of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III.
“What is preventing me from talking to Trump about this is the existence of a special prosecutor,” Rohrabacher said. “Not only Kelly, but others are worried if I say one word to Trump about Russia, that it would appear to out-of-control prosecutors that that is where the collusion is.”
Rohrabacher said Assange did not want to release the information publicly for fear of endangering sources.
WikiLeaks’ release of a number of emails from the Democratic National Committee is thought to have been assisted by Russian hacking.
Rohrabacher said he understands why Kelly would want to protect Trump.
“I don’t like it, but that’s the reality of it, that we can’t make the president vulnerable to this kind of prosecutorial power,” he said. “He’s afraid that would open up the door, and I think there’s some validity to that.”
Rohrabacher is seen as sympathetic to Russia and has been tagged with the nickname “Putin’s favorite Congressman,” given his compliments toward Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The longtime California Republican who once worked as a speechwriter for President Ronald Reagan is now facing a tough re-election race as Democrats are targeting him.
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