Rep Dana Rohrabacher Facing Increased Scrutiny Over Travel Requests

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COSTA MESA (CNS) - Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, who's been criticized for advocating friendlier relations with Russia, is getting increased scrutiny from Republican leaders for travel and hearing requests, congressional aides said in remarks reported today.

The heightened attention follows Rohrabacher meetings with Russians linked to the Kremlin. Those meetings led to the ouster this summer of Rohrabacher-aide Paul Behrends from his post as staff director of the Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia and Emerging Threats, which is chaired by Rohrabacher, the Orange County Register reported.

Behrends helped arrange the controversial meetings with Russians, according to news reports cited by the Register.

``The committee has taken a more hands-on approach with the subcommittee since the departure of Behrends,'' a senior congressional aide told the Register. The aide acknowledged that Rohrabacher's travel and hearing requests are receiving more scrutiny from the Foreign Affairs Committee, which oversees the Costa Mesa Republican's subcommittee and which was responsible for Behrends leaving his post.

Rohrabacher spokesman Ken Grubbs said that some hearings proposed by Rohrabacher have been nixed. Among those was a request by Rohrabacher -- a staunch defender of President Donald Trump -- to hold hearings on alleged links between Bill and Hillary Clinton and the Kremlin. That suggestion arose amid increasing focus on possible ties between associates of Trump and the Kremlin.

``He proposed that either his subcommittee or the full committee take up the issue of the Kremlin's dealings with the Clintons as part of a broad look into Russia's role in our political process,'' Grubbs told the Register. ``He was turned down.''

Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce, R-Fullerton, expressed concern over news reports in July about Rohrabacher's meetings with Russian officials. It was determined that neither Royce's committee nor Rohrabacher's subcommittee was an appropriate venue for a Kremlin-Clintons investigation, a senior congressional aide told the Register.

``This type of investigation would be best handled by the Department of Justice,'' the aide said. ``Right now, our focus remains talking the serious threats posed by North Korea, Iran and radical Islamic terrorists.''

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