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GOP lawmaker turned down Rohrabacher’s request to travel to Russia last year: report

GOP lawmaker turned down Rohrabacher’s request to travel to Russia last year: report
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The chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee turned down a request from Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) to travel to Russia shortly after President Trump’s inauguration, according to multiple new reports.

A senior House Republican aide told The Atlantic Wednesday that Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif.) turned down Rohrabacher’s request for the trip, which was to include meeting with the Russian Parliament, in the weeks following Trump’s inauguration.

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Rohrabacher originally said he canceled the trip because he was worried the focus on Russia would make the trip difficult.

"In the middle of a chaotic, public brouhaha, you're not going to be able to get the serious job done that you need to get done," he said, according to the Los Angeles Times.

But on Thursday, Rohrabacher’s spokesman said that he and Royce agreed that canceling trip was for the best.

"Dana and Ed were of one mind at the time," spokesman Ken Grubbs told the Times.

The reports of Rohrabacher’s canceled trip follow news that Paul Behrends, a top aide for Rohrabacher, was fired over his connections to pro-Russia lobbyists.

A Foreign Affairs spokesperson told The Atlantic on Wednesday, “Paul Behrends no longer works at the committee.”

Behrends was reportedly fired at the recommendation of Royce.

“Paul Behrends has done a terrific job for me and the committee,” Rohrabacher said in a statement Wednesday. “I have not heard anything to the contrary. I am looking forward to discussing this with the committee leadership. I am sure we will work this out.”