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‘Putin’s favourite congressman’ was at the insurrection rally at the Capitol

·3-min read
US Representative Dana Rohrabacher, Republican from California (Getty)
US Representative Dana Rohrabacher, Republican from California (Getty)

A Republican former member of the US House who was famously once dubbed “[Vladimir] Putin’s favourite congressman” in a Politico profile was at the US Capitol during the riot that overtook the building on 6 January.

Former Rep Dana Rohrabacher, who represented several California districts over three decades due to redistricting, was seen in a photo first posted online by a Twitter account known as “Capitol Hunters,” which seeks to identify participants in the 6 January attack.

In the photo, Mr Rohrabacher is seen wearing a winter hat outside the building in the midst of a large crowd.

The former congressman, who now lives in Maine, told the Portland Press-Herald that he attended former President Donald Trump’s rally in Washington DC the day of the attack as well as the protest outside of the Capitol itself, but claimed he never went inside the building.

“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,” Mr Rohrabacher told the newspaper. “But I was not there to make a scene and do things that were unacceptable for anyone to do.”

Mr Rohrabacher left Congress in 2019 after losing his seat to Harley Rouda, who would go on to represent the district for two years.

The former congressman would go on in the interview with the Press-Herald to echo unproven claims that “leftist” provocateurs were responsible for urging the crowd to breach the Capitol Police’s lines on the day of the attack, according to the newspaper.

Mr Rohrabacher has been an ardent supporter of former President Donald Trump’s claim that the 2020 election was stolen. He participated in at least one “Stop the Steal” rally before the events of 6 January according to the Orange County Register.

Before his exit from Congress, he frequently made headlines by staking out pro-Russian positions on a wide range of issues, including the 2014 annexation of Crimea by Russian forces.

In 2016, he was dubbed “Putin’s Favourite Congressman” in a Politico profile that examined his positions on the Magnitsky Act, an anti-corruption statute, and other issues.

“I get pushback whenever I’m asking for an honest assessment of a situation in which Russia is being vilified,” he told Politico at the time. “I don’t know where this is all coming from but there’s clearly a herculean effort to push us back into a cold war.”

The same year, now-GOP House leader Kevin McCarthy reportedly quipped at a private GOP gathering: “There’s two people I think Putin pays: [California Republican Dana] Rohrabacher and Trump.”

Mr Rohrabacher has not faced any charges thus far for his participation in the 6 January protests outside of the Capitol.

Hundreds of those who did breach the police barricades in their attempt to halt the certification of the US election results that day have faced a range of charges in recent months.

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