While the ever-expanding timeline cataloging the connections between Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and Russia soldiers on, Don Jr.’s latest additions have taken the media spotlight by storm. Yet the case of Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, a Republican politician from California whose previous flirtations with Russian influence were exposed in May, has resurfaced. (The FBI even stepped in to warn Rohrabacher that Russian operatives were trying to recruit him.) That’s because, per a new report, the congressman’s alleged connections to Russia are far deeper than previously thought.
Emails and other documents obtained by The Daily Beast reveal Rohrabacher’s attempts to stage a “show trial” of Bill Browder, an active campaigner against Vladimir Putin’s regime, in Congress with the help of talking points and a propaganda film provided by Russian officials during an April 2016 visit. Said officials were from the Prosecutor General’s office that, as the report emphasizes, were behind the “very high level and sensitive information” offered to Don Jr. and fellow Trump campaign staffers Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner at the June 6th meeting.
As chair of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Europe, Rohrabacher intended to call Browder before a congressional hearing and pepper him with questions from the film, which criticizes both him and his tax attorney, Sergei Magnitsky. It also names Natalia Veselnitskaya, the Russian lawyer who met with Don Jr. The subcommittee hearing was shelved in favor of a full committee meeting after senior Republicans “intervened,” but that apparently didn’t stop Rohrabacher’s office from hosting a screening of the pro-Russia film and inviting others in Washington to attend:
The invite, reviewed by The Daily Beast, claimed that the film “explodes the common view that Mr. Magnitsky was a whistleblower” and lavishes praise on the “rebel director” Andrei Nekrasov.
When asked for comment, the congressman’s press secretary, Ken Grubbs insisted “[t]hat invitation was not from our office.” In addition to denying Rohrabacher ever asked anyone to send the invitations, Grubbs also claimed the person who sent them, Catharine O’Neill “was an unpaid intern on the committee staff.” However, when asked about the documents Rohrabacher apparently received from the Prosecutor General’s office, Grubbs admitted this was true but remarked that the congressman’s meeting with officials in April 2016 was “brief and formal.”
(Via The Daily Beast)