As the Mueller investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election rolls on, it seems that each new day brings a new name into view.
This one actually should have been expected, I suppose.
According to NBC News, Mueller’s team are questioning witnesses about a September 2016 meeting between former White House national security adviser Michael Flynn and the pro-Russia Representative Dana Rohrabacher.
The meeting allegedly took place in Washington the evening of Sept. 20, while Flynn was working as an adviser to Trump’s presidential campaign. It was arranged by his lobbying firm, the Flynn Intel Group. Also in attendance were Flynn’s business partners, Bijan Kian and Brian McCauley, and Flynn’s son, Michael G. Flynn, who worked closely with his father, the sources said.
Mueller is reviewing emails sent from Flynn Intel Group to Rohrabacher’s congressional staff thanking them for the meeting, according to one of the sources, as part of his probe into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
Rohrabacher is definitely a fan of Russia. He traveled to Moscow to meet with Russian officials. He pushed to end the Magnitsky Act, a 2012 bill that froze the assets of Russian prosecutors and investigators, suspected of human rights abuses, and in general, he’s been almost a more ardent cheerleader for Russia than Trump, himself.
It hasn’t been missed by his colleagues, either.
The Washington Post reported in May that House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, also a California Republican, was secretly recorded telling other party members, in what seemed to be a joke, “There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump.”
Just a joke, people.
In September, the Wall Street Journal reported that Rohrabacher offered Trump a deal that to protect Julian Assange, creator of WikiLeaks, which released emails damaging to Hillary Clinton ahead of the 2016 election, from legal peril. In return for not prosecuting him for his group’s 2010 leak of State Department emails, Assange would allegedly provide proof that Russia was not the source of the hacked Democratic emails. The intelligence community has pointed to Russia as the secret provider of the email trove to WikiLeaks.
The proof was Assange said they didn’t get the emails from Russia.
Yeah. If you say so.
Rohrabacher’s Russia love and his meeting with Flynn has made him the first sitting congressman to get on Mueller’s radar.
Most of what has been reported about Mueller’s questioning of Flynn’s lobbying work has concerned his efforts on behalf of Turkey. Less is known about his lobbying ties to Russia, though he was paid $45,000 plus expenses for attending a gala in Moscow in December 2015 and being interviewed by RT, the Kremlin-financed cable TV news channel.
For now, the word is that Mueller has enough to bring an indictment against Flynn and his son, Michael Flynn Jr. How Rohrabacher’s role unfolds remains to be seen.