Dems want Rohrabacher pulled from leadership of panel overseeing Russia

Dems want Rohrabacher pulled from leadership of panel overseeing Russia
© Getty Images

House Democrats’ campaign arm on Thursday called for Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) to be removed as chairman of a House Foreign Affairs subcommittee overseeing Russia over his ties to the country.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) is targeting Rohrabacher, who is one of 23 Republicans representing a district won by Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonIntel Dem decries White House 'gag order' after Bannon testimony 'Total free-for-all' as Bannon clashes with Intel members Mellman: On Political Authenticity (Part 2) MORE in 2016 and has come under scrutiny for his sympathetic stances toward Russia.

CNN reported on Wednesday that the Senate Intelligence Committee is considering whether to ask Rohrabacher about his meeting earlier this month with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in London.

ADVERTISEMENT

Rohrabacher has said he plans to brief President Trump on his discussion with Assange, who told the lawmaker that leaked Democratic Party documents published by WikiLeaks during last year’s campaign didn’t come from Russia, contrary to conclusions drawn by multiple U.S. intelligence agencies.

In light of CNN’s report, the DCCC called on House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (Calif.), another Republican representing a Clinton district, to dismiss Rohrabacher as chairman of the subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia and Emerging Threats.

“Embattled Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, now apparently a person of interest to the Senate Intelligence Committee’s Russia investigation, has no business chairing the Foreign Affairs Subcommittee that oversees Russia,” DCCC spokesman Tyler Law said in a statement. “Chairman Royce must put aside his party loyalty and strip Rohrabacher of this important chairmanship immediately.”

Rohrabacher spokesman Ken Grubbs dismissed the suggestion, writing that the DCCC is “obviously embarrassed by the [Democratic National Committee's] antics last year, does not know how to think strategically about foreign affairs and has descended to the guilt-by-association tactics reminiscent of America’s Red Scares. It compounds its own embarrassment.”

Rohrabacher’s ties to Russia over the years have drawn more attention amid the federal investigations of how the Russian government tried to influence the U.S. elections last year.

In 2012, Rohrabacher was warned by the FBI that Russian spies were trying to recruit him as an “agent of influence.”

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) privately joked to colleagues last year that he thinks "Putin pays" Rohrabacher, along with Trump, according to a recording obtained by The Washington Post in May.

Rohrabacher has served in the House since 1989, but has already drawn multiple Republican and Democratic challengers ahead of the 2018 midterm elections.