GOP Congressman From Moscow Still GOP Congressman From Moscow
Dana Rohrabacher (R-Putin)
On June 15, 2016, Republican House Majority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy was #CaughtOnTape saying this:
“There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump."
Everybody was like "LOL!" and Speaker Paul Ryan was like, "we don't say that out loud!" whereupon McCarthy added, "Swear to God." HAHA!
Yes, before there was an American president compromised by Russia, there was a GOP congressman compromised by Russia, and his name is Dana Rohrabacher. Sometimes he's just a normal Republican dolt, asking for curious where all the Martians be at. But he really really really RLY RLY REALLLLLLLY loves Russia and Vladimir Putin. (He didn't used to. Back in the day he had TOTAL lady wood for the Taliban. He picks winners!) He hates American sanctions on Russia. He says back in the 1990s, he got drunk and lost a game of arm footsie to Putin. As the New York Times noted in May, back in 2012, the FBI kidnapped Rohrabacher and stuck him in a room where they calmly 'splained him that Russian spies were trying to recruit him. Apparently his response to that information was somewhere between "BADASS!" and "I KNOW!"
The Daily Beast has a crazy story about Rohrabacher that's related to the controversy over Donald Trump Jr.'s big gay Russian meeting with all the big gay Russians. We've all learned about the Magnitsky Act in the past couple weeks. It was signed by Barack Obama to punish Russians who murdered/allowed Russian anti-corruption lawyer Sergei Magnitsky to die in Russian jail. Repealing the Magnitsky Act is code for lifting Russian sanctions, as a key part of the law shut those Russians out of the American banking system. In response, Putin banned Americans from adopting bouncy Russian babies, many of them disabled orphans. That's what Junior's Russian meeting was allegedly about, and according to Donald Trump, he chit-chatted with Putin about it at the G20 while they were Pussgrab 'n' Chillin' after dinner.
When New York U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara was fired, he was prosecuting a case about the YOOGE scammy fraud uncovered by Sergei Magnitsky.
Moscow has gone all out to get the Magnitsky Act killed dead, paying the Russian lady lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya and her Russian-American spy/hacker/lobbyist pal Rinat Akhmetshin (both of whom attended Junior's Russian meeting) to lobby against it.
And that's where Dana Rohrabacher enters this Russian picture!
It turns out part of the Russian crusade against the Magnitsky Act involved Moscow recruiting Rohrabacher both to undermine the act itself, and also specifically to smear this American guy Bill Browder, once "Russia's biggest foreign investor," according to the Daily Beast. He was also a client of Magnitsky's and a whistle-blower when it comes to Russian corruption.
Tell us, Daily Beast!
Members of the team of Russians who secured a June 2016 Trump Tower meeting with Donald Trump Jr. and Jared Kushner also attempted to stage a show trial of anti-Putin campaigner Bill Browder on Capitol Hill.
The trial, which would have come in the form of a congressional hearing, was scheduled for mid-June 2016 by Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), a long-standing Russia ally who chairs the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Europe. During the hearing, Rohrabacher had planned to confront Browder with a feature-length pro-Kremlin propaganda movie that viciously attacks him—as well as at least two witnesses linked to the Russian authorities, including lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya.
Ultimately, the hearing was canceled when senior Republicans intervened and agreed to allow a hearing on Russia at the full committee level with a Moscow-sympathetic witness, according to multiple congressional aides.
OK so, the Daily Beast investigation is long and intense and weird and convoluted, and you should really read the whole thing. Hopefully we will entice you to do so by giving you a hilarious (and brief-ish?) synopsis of what happened, replete with dick jokes and intentional abuse of the English language.
Dana Rohrabacher takes orders from his homeland, Mother Russia.
In April of 2016, Dana Rohrabacher went with a congressional delegation to Russia. He took along his longtime buddy boy Paul Behrends, who worked (until this week, when all these stories came out! Now he is YOU'RE FIRED!) as staff director for Rohrabacher's congressional subcommittee. While there, they participated in some, shall we say, "extra-curricular activities." Rohrabacher met with Vladimir Yakunin, one of Putin's closest buddies, who is under sanction, because Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak said they should meet. Rohrabacher said the meeting wasn't about lifting sanctions, but we guess it wouldn't have been a big deal if it was, because Rohrabacher told Buzzfeed, "I'm working to undo those anyway." You don't gotta twist HIS arm to work on behalf of the Kremlin!
Anyway, while he was there, he also had a meeting with Yuri Chaika, the Prosecutor General of Russia (in Trump Junior's Russian emails, he's referred to as the "Crown Prosecutor," the guy who had dirty dirt about Hillary Clinton to share), and Chaika's number two dude, Viktor Grin, who is specifically under the Magnitsky sanctions. Chaika is best amigos with Natalia Veselnitskaya, or at least they know each other well enough to say "SUP BRO" at Russian frat parties.
Chaika had a top secret Russian document for Rohrabacher, about how Sergei Magnitsky was a big lying douche-fart, and also a copy of this anti-Magnitsky/anti-Bill Browder propaganda movie Moscow wanted Rohrabacher to take home to America and show Congress. And Rohrabacher was like "OK!"
In short, MOSCOW GAVE HIM INSTRUCTIONS AND HE FOLLOWED THEM.
So Rohrabacher and his buddy Behrends got on the aero-plane to come home and figure out how to implement Moscow's plans for them. They probably snuggled together while they read the top secret document, which said it was probably a pretty good time to try to change America's feelings about the poor, victimized government of the unfairly put-upon Putin, because of the "political situation" in America. (We're not going to say that had something to do with Russia's already active campaign to make Donald Trump president, but we're not gonna NOT say it either.) The document also said Russia really would like Rohrabacher to have a sexxxy hearing in his subcommittee, to start talking about getting rid of the sanctions that have butthurted Russia so bad.
So yeah! A hearing! That would be cool! Rohrabacher was DTF!
Once back home, Rohrabacher worked to delay the Global Magnitsky Act, a broader version of the law, or at least get Magnitsky's name taken off of it, because remember how his Russian bosses told him Sergei Magnitsky was very stinky and wrongbad? Yeah, that. Rinat Akhmetshin, the Russian spy hacker lobbyist, even was so kind as to show up at Rohrabacher's office the day before they were supposed to mark up the law in the House Foreign Affairs Committee, we guess to remind him of the Kremlin's marching orders. What a pal!
But the main event was this special hearing Rohrabacher wanted to do, where he could show the Russian Naughty Magnitsky Movie and convince America that Russia is our BFF. Unfortunately, Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), chair of the House Foreign Relations Committee, wasn't into the idea of letting the Kremlin hold a hearing in Congress. What a loser! According to the Daily Beast, Royce had Rohrabacher's hearing killed, partially "to avoid Rohrabacher staging an event that could have embarrassed the Republican Party -- and Congress." Unfair!
In the version of the hearing Royce ultimately allowed to go forward, Rohrabacher waxed poetic about how Trump and Putin were a lot alike (in a good way!) and he said the Russians probably didn't poison that former FSB guy Alexander Litvinenko in London. (They totally poisoned that guy.)
The Daily Beast got its hands on an email that says "Rohrabacher's staff received pro-Kremlin briefings against [the American investor Bill] Browder" before the hearing. Also, even though Rohrabacher didn't get to show his little Kremlin propaganda film in Congress, he "actively promoted a screening of the movie" at the Newseum in Washington DC. His congressional subcommittee sent out invites and everything!
Or maybe they didn't! According to Paul Behrends, it was just a dumb intern who sent the invites! Her name is Catharine O'Neill, and somehow she went from "just an intern" to a sweet job on the Trump transition team, and then an even sweeter job at the State Department, where she works IN THE OFFICE OF DEMOCRACY AND HUMAN RIGHTS. Oh, sorry, were we caps-locking you? Our bad.
REGARDLESS of who sent the invitations, the screening happened on June 14, 2016 (even though it "ended in a ruckus"!), and then Dana Rohrabacher and Paul Behrends and Rinat Akhmetshin and Natalia Veselnitskaya had a nice dinner out together, because come on, even Russian agents gotta eat some chicken fingers occasionally.
The next day, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said that thing above, about how he thinks Dana Rohrabacher is getting paid by the Kremlin. Remember how they tried to claim that was just a joke? HAHA!
The end! OR IS IT?
Yeah mostly it is the end. You should read the whole thing from The Daily Beast, because we actually left out a shitload of info-tainment. Rohrabacher tried to go to Russia again this past spring (probably to receive further instructions, and a lifetime supply of Russian Snausages), but this time Chairman Royce told him to fuck right off.
ONE OTHER WEIRD THING THOUGH!
Dana Rohrabacher and Paul Behrends? They've worked together for a thousand years, and guess who they hired back in the 1990s? That's right, it is Evil Blackwater Motherfucker/Betsy DeVos Baby Brother Erik Prince, whose name is tangled up in the Trump-Russia investigation because he acted as an unofficial representative of the Trump team and set up a secret sexxx meeting in the Seychelles, for the purposes of creating a communication back channel between Trump and Russia.
Weird, right? It's like all these fuckers have been turned by the Kremlin.
Oh well, we should just be glad the rumors weren't true about Donald Trump wanting to make Rohrabacher secretary of State. In contrast, the king of Exxon (who ... also is pals with Vladimir Putin, sweet fucking Jesus, kill us now) seems MUCH better.
Wonkette salaries are fully funded by readers like you! If you love us, click below to pay us some salaries!
Evan Hurst is the managing editor of Wonkette, which means he is the boss of you, unless you are Rebecca, who is boss of him. His dog Lula is judging you right now.
Follow him on Twitter RIGHT HERE.