Nobody keeps a closer watch on our enemies than someone who’s in bed with them. Congressman Dana Rohrabacher fell in love with Russia while visiting Afghanistan in the 1980s. Think “Charlie Wilson’s War” only backwards, and Tom Hanks is an asshole.
Part of Rick Gates’ recent guilty plea was admitting to having lied about a meeting with Paul Manafort and Rohrabacher on March 13th, 2013, so it’s a given he’ll be talking to Robert Mueller soon. Like most conservatives, Rohrabacher’s big on “Law and Order” so I’m sure it wasn’t his campaign that took down my patriotic “God Bless the FBI” sign after two days in front of Rohrabacher’s campaign HQ and the 55 Freeway. Whoever did though, left it behind allowing me to retrieve it, so the list of possible FBI-haters behind it could narrow dramatically if that weird smell in my car turns out to be Polonium.
Besides his One-Degree-of-Manafort status, there’s PLENTY more Mueller will want to discuss with the representative from OC/Moscow. Not only did Rohrabacher meet with Mike Flynn, he also flew to Ecuador to meet with Julian Assange, after which he told anyone willing to listen that the Russians were innocent of the DNC e-mail hacks and Assange had proof it was an inside job. (Hillary perhaps? Could the mastermind of Whitewater, Travelgate, Filegate, Benghazi, Vince Foster, Seth Rich, Comet Pizza and Uranium One also be behind the DNC e-mail hacks? Only Dana Rohrabacher and Alex Jones know for sure…) Assange denied this however, saying he would never divulge information about leakers, thus putting an end to Rohrabacher’s attempt to get him leniency in exchange for the information. This attempt may be the first time a sitting Congressman has ever tried to obtain amnesty for one enemy of the United States for their help in exonerating an entirely different enemy of the United States. Sadly, he was not allowed to deliver his message to the President, blaming White House aides and collusion between the intelligence community and DNC officials. Rather than Rohrabacher’s more fanciful conspiracy, I think it was more likely any one of a number of prominent Republicans thinking “Jesus Christ, this guy’s trying to get us all killed!”
“Putin’s Favorite Congressman” has the distinction of being the only US lawmaker to side with Russia in the Russia-Georgia War and to attempt to excuse the annexation of Crimea. With a rolodex containing more Russian characters than a Tolstoy novel, Mueller will also probably want to know more about Rohrabacher’s meetings with the Trump Tower Troika: former Soviet counterintelligence officer Rinat Akhmetshin, Russian banker, Putin ally and funneller-of-money-to-the-NRA Alexander Torshin, and the Mother Teresa of Russian adoptions, Natalia Veselnitskaya.
Rohrabacher’s reputation as the kind of team player you really don’t want to have playing on your team may have begun when he tried to have a film Veselnitskaya gave him played in front of congress. The Kremlin-produced feature-length documentary was made to discredit Bill Brower and tortured-to-death whistleblower Sergei Magnitsky. This effort was rebuffed by House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce, no doubt along with words to the effect of “Jesus Fucking Christ Dana, are you trying to get us all hung? Y’know, plenty of us wanted Hitler to win too, but we didn’t fucking screen Triumph of the Will in front of a joint session!”
As Republican House Leader Kevin McCarthy famously said “I think there’s two people Putin pays, Trump and Rohrabacher…” to which Paul Ryan responded “This is an off the record… NO LEAKS! (laughter) alright? This is how we know we’re all family here.” The conversation has gained some notoriety because it was initially denied entirely by both McCarthy and Ryan, then dismissed as a joke by both men upon being informed their conversation was on tape.
If you haven’t read it, do so now. Like most Republican humor, it doesn’t sound particularly funny, and it caps off a conversation about Russian meddling in Europe and the Ukraine, particularly in terms of the effectiveness of their fighting a propaganda war and having “hacked the DNC to get oppo research on Trump.”
More than most amnesiac Republicans who retroactively declare themselves comedians, the Ryan/McCarthy leak is particularly damning because what impressed them about Russia was precisely what the House Investigation was looking for, which makes McCarthy’s signing off on Nunes’ premature shutdown last month extremely puzzling, or all too clear.
Whatever Rohrabacher knows or is complicit in will come out, like so much else, in the wash of the Mueller investigation. And the extent to which he’ll have to pay for his sins will probably be determined by whether or not he flips before or after his fellow co-conspirators. Before leaving town I replaced the FBI banner with this one:
I felt this to be particularly timely advice for the candidate prior to heading into any interviews with Robert Mueller. His political career got its start with the peculiarly Orange County mantle of hard-core conservatism along with his ability to surf and play guitar.
How it ends will most likely be determined by how well he can sing.