Rohrabacher’s friendliness toward Russia has raised eyebrows over the years and became a focal point in the race. Referred to as “Putin’s favorite congressman,” the longtime Republican lawmaker has said that Putin beat him in a drunken arm-wrestling match in the early 1990s to decide who won the Cold War.
The FBI warned Rohrabacher in 2012 that Russian spies were actively trying to recruit him. In 2015, Rohrabacher met with a woman in Russia who was later charged in the United States with spying for Moscow, an indictment the lawmaker called “bogus.”
And he has expressed doubts about the intelligence community’s consensus that Russia interfered in the 2016 election.
In June 2016, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said there are “two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump.”