November 7, 2018


Good Riddance to Dana Rohrabacher, 'Putin's Man in Congress' (Vladislav Davidzon, November 7, 2018, The Tablet)

The folklore surrounding Rohrabacher's pro-Russian activity is rife with the quirky and bizarre. There was the time that he took part in a delegation of Republican congressmen on a fact-finding mission to the Russian FSB building (the FSB replaced the KGB as Russia's internal security service) led by the action movie star Steven Segal. (The portly Segal who has maintained a jet black ponytail into his late sixties even as the rest of him has gone to seed, is now a Russian citizen and has announced his candidacy for the governorship of a far Eastern province). And who could forget the time Rohrabacher bragged about having arm wrestling competitions with President Putin? Of course, there were other escapades that were only whispered about  Russia connoisseurs.

Ironically, Rohrabacher began his political life as a pro-Ukrainian firebrand. In his youth, Rohrabacher had a sideline as a Bob-Dylan-esque folk singer known to take out his guitar and serenade Ukrainian American journalists and official Soviet-Ukrainian delegations with his own ballads about the Ukrainian anarchist Nestor Makhno.

Among those who knew Rohrabacher in his younger years, like members of the Ukrainian-American diaspora active in Republican politics during the 1980s and colleagues in the Reagan administration, the Congressman's transformation from ardent cold warrior to equally ardent pro-Kremlin apologist has been a subject of bemusement for many years.

Rohrabacher's activities have become better known to the general public in recent years as special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into allegations of collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign cast its gaze on the Congressman's activities. In particular, a meeting between Rohrabacher and President Trump's national security adviser Mike Flynn (an equally avid supporter of close relations with Russia) had come under the microscope.

A year ago the New York Times reported that Rohrabacher was seen as a possible Russian asset worthy of being bequeathed an FBI code name. The Times also pointed out that:

"the F.B.I. and the Senate Intelligence Committee are each seeking to interview him about an August meeting with Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, Mr. Rohrabacher said. The special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, is said to be interested in a meeting he had with Michael T. Flynn, Mr. Trump's short-lived national security adviser."

Posted by at November 7, 2018 1:55 PM