Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Costa Mesa) has a long history of being unusually friendly with Russia.
According to a new report, in January 2017, Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya attended “a black-tie inaugural party hosted by the campaign committee of Rep. Dana Rohrabacher.”
The presence of Veselnitskaya and several other prominent Russians at events surrounding Donald Trump’s inauguration “caught the attention of counterintelligence officials at the FBI, according to former U.S. officials, although it is not clear which attendees drew U.S. government interest,” according to the Washington Post.
Veselnitskaya has gained notoriety as a pivotal player in the ongoing investigation into ties between Russia and Trump’s 2016 campaign. Veselnitskaya famously met with Don Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, and Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort in Trump Tower during the summer of 2016. Trump’s family and staff hoped to receive damaging information about Hillary Clinton, as part of Russian attempts to help Trump.
(Manafort has since been arrested on multiple charges, including “conspiracy against the United States.”)
Rohrabacher met Veselnitskaya two months before she met with the Trump campaign. Rohrabacher was in Russia on a congressional trip where he and Veselnitskaya discussed American sanctions against Russia.
Regarding Veselnitskaya’s attendance at his inauguration party, Rohrabacher’s staff claims they have no record of a ticket purchased by her. Yet a photo of Veselnitskaya and a friend of hers appeared on the Rohrabacher for Congress Facebook page.
These revelations will likely bring more attention to Rohrabacher’s close ties to both Russia and Trump.
Special counsel Robert Mueller has already taken a keen interest in Rohrabacher’s activities, while House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) once said, “There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump.”
With heightened interest in Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, Rohrabacher’s close ties will likely be on the minds of voters when they go to the polls in November.