Russia’s unlikely advocate: a California Republican

WASHINGTON (AP) — Several lawmakers accused Vladimir Putin’s Russia of human rights abuses and aggression toward its neighbors, calling for maintaining a tough line with Moscow.

The exception was Rep. Dana Rohrabacher.

The Californian urged both Russia and the United States to “take a deep breath and take a step back.”

The 69-year-old, self-described “surfer Republican” has long been a lone pro-Russian voice on Capitol Hill, defending Putin and urging dialogue with the Kremlin. This past spring, Rohrabacher’s position drew support from Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, who advocates giving relations with Moscow another chance.

A former speechwriter for President Ronald Reagan, the 14-term Rohrabacher takes pride in having worked to weaken “our major global enemy at that time, the Soviet Union.”