Rohrabacher’s Russia Affinity Has Him On The Outs With Foreign Affairs Panel

Lauren Victoria Burke/FR132934 AP

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA)’s freelancing on Russia-related matters has prompted House Republican leaders to severely restrict his congressional business, the Daily Beast reported Tuesday.

The House Committee on Foreign Affairs, on which the adamantly pro-Russian lawmakers sits, has placed restrictions on the trips he can take abroad using committee funds and also on the hearings he may hold through the subcommittee on Europe that he chairs, according to the report.

The Daily Beast reported that the committee denied Rohrabacher’s request for committee funding for his August jaunt to London, where he left a meeting with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange convinced that Russia did not pass stolen emails to the radical transparency site with the aim of taking down Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign.

“His committee travel and hearing requests were curtailed following news accounts of his outside-the-box interest in Russia,” Rohrabacher’s communications director, Ken Grubbs, told the publication, confirming that the congressman ultimately had to foot the bill for the London trip himself.

Rohrabacher subsequently pitched a deal in which Assange would be pardoned by the U.S. in exchange for turning over critical information in the Russia investigation, but was rebuffed by chief-of-staff John Kelly, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The California lawmaker hasn’t held any subcommittee hearings since his attempt last summer to air a pro-Kremlin propaganda movie intended to smear Bill Browder, a fierce critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin who helped promote a U.S. law that sanctions Russian officials for human rights violations. That hearing was canceled after House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Ed Royce (R-CA) learned what Rohrabacher was up to.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) has famously joked that he thinks that Rohrabacher is one of two people, besides President Donald Trump, that he believes “Putin pays” to do Russia’s bidding.