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Rep. Dana Rohrabacher's Top Aide Dismissed for Russian Ties

Image: Rep. Dana Rohrabacher's Top Aide Dismissed for Russian Ties
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By    |   Thursday, 20 Jul 2017 01:05 PM

One of Rep. Dana Rohrabacher's top aides has been fired from his position as staff director of the committee the congressman chairs following reports of close ties to Russian lobbyists.

"Paul Behrends no longer works at the [House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia and Emerging Threats]," a committee spokesperson told The Atlantic Wednesday evening.

Behrends had traveled with the congressman on a trip to Moscow in 2016. Rohrabacher claims that while there, his aide received materials that opposed the Magnitsky Act, which sanctions Russian officials involved in the 2009 death of lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, who died while investing government tax fraud.

In an interview with The Hill last week, Rohrabacher defended his meeting.

"I had a meeting with some people, government officials, and they were saying, 'Would you be willing to accept material on the Magnitsky case from the prosecutors in Moscow' And I said, 'Sure, I'd be willing to look at it,'" he said.

"At the end of the meeting simply as I was walking out, they said this gentleman has some documents for you. And he handed them to me. And that was as far as my meeting with the prosecutors went," the congressman continued. "We got the information, we looked at it, and we asked various people about the issue."

One unnamed source "with knowledge of the events" implied to the Atlantic that Behrends was fired due to pressure from House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce, who reportedly clashed over Rohrabacher's plans. Last year, the Foreign Affairs chairman put a stop to the congressman's plan to show an anti-Magnitsky film in Congress, and a plan earlier this year for Rohrabacher to visit Moscow again.

Behrends attracted controversy from others on Capitol Hill who felt that he fed into the congressman's pro-Russia sentiments.

"Paul Behrends has done a terrific job for me and the committee," Rohrabacher said in a statement Wednesday. "I have not heard anything to the contrary. I am looking forward to discussing this with the committee leadership. I am sure we will work this out."

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One of Rep. Dana Rohrabacher's top aides has been fired from his position as staff director of the committee the congressman chairs following reports of close ties to Russian lobbyists.
dana rohrabacher, top, aide, dismissed, russian, ties
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2017-05-20
Thursday, 20 Jul 2017 01:05 PM
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