Former GOP Rep. Dana Rohrabacher says he attended Jan. 6 protests before US Capitol riot
WASHINGTON — Former Rep. Dana Rohrabacher admitted to participating in pro-Trump rallies on Jan. 6 that preceded the deadly ransacking of the U.S. Capitol.
The longtime GOP congressman and passionate Kremlin apologist confirmed he participated in pro-Trump protests — but did not commit any violent acts — after an anonymous crowdsourced Twitter account published photos of him at the rally.
“I marched to protest, and I thought the election was fraudulent and it should be investigated, and I wanted to express that and be supportive of that demand,” Rohrabacher told the Portland (Maine) Press Herald. “But I was not there to make a scene and do things that were unacceptable for anyone to do.”
In Congress, Rohrabacher was a fierce advocate for former President Donald Trump and critic of accusations of Russian meddling in the 2016 election and American politics more broadly.
Rohrabacher represented parts of Orange County, California, for over 30 years and now lives in Maine.
He was also an ardent apologist for Russian President Vladimir Putin throughout his political career, after meeting and arm-wrestling with him during the Russian president’s early overtures to Washington in the 1990s.
In 2018, ABC News reported that Rohrabacher had dined with Russian agent Maria Butina in 2015 and 2017. He later also became an ally in Washington for far-right populist leaders including France’s Marine Le Pen and Hungary’s prime minister, Viktor Orban.
In a private 2016 conversation, now-House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said to colleagues, “there’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump.”
The eccentric congressman was also known as an avid surfer, legal cannabis advocate, former assistant press secretary to Ronald Reagan’s 1976 and 1980 presidential campaigns and embedded fighter alongside the Afghan mujahideen against Soviet invasion.
He was unseated by Democrat Harley Rouda in 2018.
Rohrabacher claimed without evidence that “leftist provocateurs” had provoked the violence at the Capitol.
“By going into the building, they gave the Left the ability to direct the discussion of what was going on in a way that was harmful to the things we believe in,” Rohrabacher told the Press Herald.
Follow Matthew Brown online @mrbrownsir.
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