GOP Rep. Dana Rohrabacher was reportedly warned by the FBI that the Russian government was attempting to recruit him as a spy in 2012.
Rohrabacher, who was elected to office in 1988, is one of the most vocally pro-Russia members of Congress, having long-advocated against placing sanctions on the country.
According to The New York Times, an FBI agent discussed a Russian plot to target U.S. politicians to influence the nation’s policy making in a secure room in the Capitol — focusing largely on a meeting with one official he met during a meeting on a trip to Moscow.
“They were telling me he had something to do with some kind of Russian intelligence,” Rohrabacher told the publication, adding FBI agents told him they “looked at me as someone who could be influenced.”
Law enforcement told The Times there was no evidence Rohrabacher was colluding with Russian intelligence or being compensated by the Kremlin, but was being targeted as a potential recruit to advance the Russian government’s agenda.
Rohrabacher said he was aware of the threat without the FBI’s warning.
“Any time you meet a Russian member of their Foreign Ministry or the Russian government, you assume those people have something to do with Russian intelligence,” he told TheNYT.
Rohrabacher was thrust into the spotlight Wednesday after The Washington Post reported House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said in 2016: “There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump — swear to God.”
McCarthy told reporters the comment was made in jest, asserting he doesn’t believe Trump or Rohrabacher are being paid by the Russian government.
“It’s a bad joke, that’s all there was to it,” he said.
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