A Republican congressman is planning to lead a congressional delegation to Russia shortly after President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration to explore “how we can work with the Duma,” the Washington Post reported Wednesday.
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) told the newspaper that he and other as-yet-unnamed members of a congressional delegation would travel to Russia in order to “have a real dialogue instead of screaming epithets at each other.”
“We’re going to look at certain goals we can set with our Congress and the Duma,” Rohrabacher told the Post. “What could we actually set in the legislature of Russia and in Congress? Could we work together, for example, and cooperate on space activities?”
The Associated Press has described Rohrabacher as “Russia’s unlikely advocate in Congress,” and he’s known for recounting a story about losing an armwrestling match to Putin when the congressman hosted a delegation of Russian political leaders in the ’90s.
Asked by the Post whether he planned for his delegation to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who the U.S. intelligence community reportedly said signed off on hackers’ efforts to steal emails from Democratic operatives and organizations in order to disrupt the 2016 election, Rohrabacher said he “really can’t say that.”
“It’s possible,” he said.
Rohrabacher told the Post that he had not coordinated his plans with Trump’s transition team but did not expect any resistance from the President-elect or his administration, either. He also claimed that he was under consideration for several positions in the administration, including in the State Department, according to the report.