Rep. Dana Rohrabacher covers for Trump as Nunes memo flops

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher's deep ties to Russia and Donald Trump were blatantly evident as he praised the dangerous and deeply flawed intelligence memo released by fellow Californian Rep. Devin Nunes.

The reactions to Rep. Devin Nunes’ (R-Tulare) wildly overhyped intelligence memo ranged from disappointment to shock. The memo, largely considered a flop for the GOP, succeeded best at undermining many of the myths Republicans are spreading about the Russia investigation.

Yet Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Costa Mesa), labeled “Putin’s favorite congressman” by Politico, went out of his way to praise the memo in a statement.

In an effort to undermine the ongoing investigation into Donald Trump’s ties to Russia, which has already led to four arrests and two guilty pleas, Rohrabacher claimed, without evidence, “the integrity of even our law enforcement and intelligence agencies can be politicized and compromised.”

The 70-year-old congressman, a stalwart Trump loyalist, claimed that Nunes’ questionable actions regarding the memo were “a great service to our country … debunking a heinous conspiracy theory and in doing so exposing a real conspiracy.”

Experts called the memo a dud, noting it failed in its mission to undercut the FBI, special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation in to the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia, and the possible cover-up.

In USA Today, legal experts noted, “The push by Republican leaders to unveil this document, over the strenuous objections of the FBI, the Justice Department and Democrats in Congress, fit a broader pattern of coordinated attacks on Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and Trump team ties to Russia.”

Further, they said, “Most of the allegations in the Nunes memo had already been aired, and others were quickly discredited as misleading or undercut by other information that was excluded from the memo. Indeed, to the extent the document contained any surprises, it was the degree to which it actually undermined the attacks that the president and his allies had been advancing.”

For example, the memo points out that the FBI began investigating the Trump because of the suspicious activities of Trump adviser George Papadopoulos. Republicans have long claimed that the Steele dossier was the impetus for the investigation, but this was debunked by their own memo.

Despite all the evidence, Rohrabacher still pushes the desperate idea of a “conspiracy” that’s out to get Donald Trump. The congressman claimed, again contrary to the facts of the situation, “This was nothing less than an attempted cover-up of wrongdoing by the last administration. This whole episode makes Watergate pale in comparison.”

With such over-the-top rhetoric based on a deeply flawed partisan memo, there’s no mistaking where Rohrabacher’s loyalties lie.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) once said, “There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump.”

Statements like the one Rohrabacher released only serve to confirm this accusation.

While Rohrabacher has sailed to re-election in the past, he faces serious challenges to his congressional seat in 2018. Democratic challengers raised more campaign cash than Rohrabacher in 2017, in a congressional district Hillary Clinton carried in 2016.

Perhaps residents of Orange County are tired of Putin’s favorite congressman shilling for a deeply unpopular president, and would prefer someone in Congress representing their own interests instead.