- A former California congressman participated in the January 6 march to the Capitol that preceded the insurrection.
- Internet detectives identified Dana Rohrabacher in video footage from the scene earlier this month.
- Rohrabacher told the Portland Press Herald he discouraged his fellow protesters from entering the building.
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An ex-congressman from California confirmed he participated in the January 6 march to the Capitol that preceded the deadly insurrection, after internet detectives discovered him in video footage from the scene, according to the Portland Press Herald.
Dana Rohrabacher, a Republican who represented California in the US House of Representatives from 1989 to 2019, told the outlet he participated in what started as a “peaceful” march, but denied entering the Capitol and said he discouraged his fellow protesters from doing so as well.
“I marched to protest, and I thought the election was fraudulent and it should be investigated, and I wanted to express that and be supportive of that demand,” Rohrabacher told the Press Herald. “But I was not there to make a scene and do things that were unacceptable for anyone to do.”
The polarizing figure, who has been called “Putin’s favorite congressman” due to his prominent pro-Russia opinions and an unusual friendship with the Russian president, is one of the most high-profile figures to be outed as a rally attendee thus far.
Rohrabacher, who fashioned himself as a Trump ally, was the longest-serving House member to lose reelection in 2018 and moved to Maine shortly after.
According to the Press Herald, a group of anonymous sleuths using the account @capitolhunters identified Rohrabacher in four videos that place him near the Lower West Plaza from around 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. on January 6. Identified by his knit hat and overcoat, the internet investigators determined he was almost 500 feet beyond police barriers inside the restricted zone, but concluded there was no evidence suggesting he climbed the West Plaza steps or entered the building.
-capitolhunters (@capitolhunters) June 12, 2021
In an interview with the Press Herald on Monday, Rohrabacher blamed the left-wing for the historic Capitol attack and its ongoing fallout.
“By going into the building, they gave the Left the ability to direct the discussion of what was going on in a way that was harmful to the things we believe in,” Rohrabacher told the outlet, saying he believed “Leftist provocateurs” encouraged the crowd to enter the Capitol. There is no evidence that the riot was provoked by “leftists.”
Since January, more than 500 people have been arrested in connection to the Capitol riot, many of whom have ties to right-wing extremist groups like the Proud Boys, the Oath Keepers, and the Three Percenters, as well as followers of the right-wing conspiracy theory QAnon.
In the footage uncovered by @capitolhunters, Rohrabacher can be seen with another man, whom he told the Press Herald was his friend from Japan who is active in the cannabis industry.
In addition to his support of several far-right and authoritarian European leaders during his time in office, Rohrabacher was also a vocal supporter of marijuana legalization.