Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher met with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who the congressman said denied that Russia was involved in sending him emails from the Democratic National Committee.
WikiLeaks published emails from the Democratic National Committee, which led to the resignation of DNC Chairwoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
“He reaffirmed his aggressive denial that the Russians had anything to do with the hacking of the DNC during the election," Rohrabacher said of Assange, the Orange County Register reported.
Rohrabacher’s statements come despite the fact that U.S. intelligence authorities have said with “high confidence” that Russia interfered with the 2016 presidential election.
Rohrabacher is often referred to as “Putin’s favorite congressman” for his sympathetic views toward Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Rohrabacher’s office said he is the only member of Congress to meet with Assange, the Register reported.
Assange is currently based in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London to avoid being extradited to Sweden on charges of sexual assault in Sweden. While charges of Assange have been dropped, he could still be extradited on charges of violating his bail terms.
“I think it will have an earth-shattering political impact," Rohrabacher said. "It wouldn’t be so important if Democrats hadn’t focused so inordinately on the Russians. Democrats are creating a total upheaval over this."
Rohrabacher is being targeted by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee as one a potential seat to be picked up in the 2018 midterms.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee slammed Rohrabacher for meeting with Assange, calling Assange "an accused rapist and confirmed threat to America's national security."
"The fact that Dana Rohrabacher would meet with Assange, let alone work to secure his freedom, begs the question: Who is he really working for? Because it’s not the voters who sent him to Congress," DCCC spokesman Andrew Gondinich said in a statement.
So far, two frontrunners to challenge Rohrabacher are Harley Rouda and Hans Keirstead.