Rep Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia and emerging threats, told MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell on Monday that he was not bothered by Russian attacks on the U.S. election because Americans had a right to know what was in private emails sent by Hillary Clinton's campaign staff.
"I've never expressed doubt that Russia hacked into these emails and made them available to the American people," Rohrabacher explained. "I don't care who provided us those emails. The emails were factual and thus the emails -- it did not hurt the American people to have more factual information available to them. This is just a frantic effort to discredit an election because the American people rejected the liberal left effort, the massive campaign against Trump."
Mitchell pointed out that multiple intelligence agencies had come to the same conclusion, and that "a foreign power for the first time tried to not only hack and succeeded, but also leaked to Wikileaks."
"It's not the issue of the output," she insisted. "The issue is the interference and whether or not that kind of hacking needs to be retaliated against or should have been prevented."
"If people are giving the American people are more information, why are you so upset about it?" Rohrabacher laughed.
"Because it's stolen!" Mitchell exclaimed.
Rohrabacher countered with the assertion that Democratic Sen. Edward Kennedy "went to Moscow in 1984, met with the head of the KGB and asked if we could arrange some kind of an event that would dislodge Reagan's support in the upcoming election." It's a claim that Politifact has rated as false.
"Now that was treason!" the congressman insisted.
"So, you're saying that stolen information from private emails is an appropriate thing to be leaked by a foreign power?" Mitchell pressed. "Would you like it if Russia hacked into your emails and produced 10 years of your Gmail account?"
"When you're a public official, you know that you are the target of such hacking," Rohrabacher scoffed. "And when we're talking about this particular case, let's figure out what is worse? Hillary destroyed emails that were under subpoena -- she destroyed them. What's worse? That's worse than the Russians hacking in and giving us those emails?"
"No, the destruction of the emails by Hillary was a far worse crime against the America people," he added. "She's trying to keep information from the American people. And if the Russians or whoever it was hacked into that system and gave the American people that information that Hillary had tried to destroy, more power to whoever."
Mitchell attempted to clarify that Rohrabacher was conflating Clinton's private email server with emails Russia stole from the Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta.
Rohrabacher, however, said that both things were "exactly the same issue."
"You have someone destroying evidence and running for office," he stated. "And they don't expect that their emails can then be hacked into and the American people are not then going to get to know about what she destroyed. That's the real issue here."