Political News

Rohrabacher on Hill testimony: 'I'm an open book' on Russia

Posted December 19, 2017 3:31 p.m. EST

— Rep. Dana Rohrabacher said the Senate Intelligence Committee questioned him Tuesday about his meeting and trips to Russia over the past several years as part of the panel's investigation into Russian election meddling.

The California Republican told CNN that those meetings and trips were part of his role as chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Russia subcommittee dealing with the country. Leaving the Senate committee's secure spaces after the closed-door interview, Rohrabacher said he's "an open book" when it comes to Russia.

"They were just trying to detail the different things I've done with the Russians," Rohrabacher said. "I'm the chairman of the subcommittee that is the point person on our relations with Russia over these last five years. I've had a lot of meetings and codels (congressional delegation trips), and they were trying to make sure they understood."

Rohrabacher has come under scrutiny for his meeting over the summer with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. He said after meeting Assange at the Ecuadorian embassy in London that that a "rendezvous" was being set up between him and Trump to relay the information he had received from Assange.

Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller is also reportedly interested in Rohrabacher's meeting with former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn last year.

Rohrabacher is known as one of the most pro-Russia members of Congress. He has suggested following his Assange meeting that Russia was not behind the Democratic National Committee hacking during the 2016 election, disputing the consensus from the US intelligence community.

Asked whether he discussed his Assange meeting and WikiLeaks with the committee, Rohrabacher said: "Obviously, they were covering everything they wanted to cover."

"It was really a very open, nice meeting," he added. "I've got no worries or anything."

Rohrabacher went to the committee with an attorney. He is expected to appear before the House Intelligence Committee later this week, in which he will likely be questioned by his House colleagues.

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who was chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee last year, also spoke to the House Intelligence panel this week, and she was interviewed earlier this year by the Senate Intelligence Committee.

She told CNN on Tuesday that she hasn't been contacted by Mueller, and she declined to discuss her House testimony. She also said she hasn't been asked to return to speak to the Senate panel again since it was revealed that the DNC helped pay for the opposition research dossier on Trump and Russia.