The Russian collusion narrative just spread its net to include the National Rifle Association.
A top Russian banker with ties to the Kremlin is reportedly under investigation by the FBI on whether he gave money to the National Rifle Association to help President Trump win the election, sources told the news service McClatchy.
Counterintelligence investigators from the FBI are looking into activities of the deputy governor of Russia’s central bank, Alexander Torshin, who reportedly has close ties with both Russian President Vladimir Putin and the NRA.
Special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. election and any collusion between Moscow and the Trump campaign has been ongoing, though the president has repeatedly denied accusations and called the probe a “witch hunt.”
It is not clear how long the investigation of Torshin has been going on.
According to McClatchy:
The extent to which the FBI has evidence of money flowing from Torshin to the NRA, or of the NRA’s participation in the transfer of funds, could not be learned.
However, the NRA reported spending a record $55 million on the 2016 elections, including $30 million to support Trump – triple what the group devoted to backing Republican Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential race. Most of that was money was spent by an arm of the NRA that is not required to disclose its donors.
During the campaign and since being elected, Trump has been an outspoken supporter of the Second Amendment right to bear arms. Torshin, a lifetime NRA member, was a senior member of the Russian Senate and helped set up a gun rights group called Right to Bear Arms in Moscow, according to McClatchy.
The House and Senate Intelligence Committees and Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee have also turned their focus on Torshin, asking Donald Trump Jr. at a closed-door hearing last month about an encounter he had with Torshin at an NRA convention.
“It was all gun-related small talk,” Trump Jr.’s lawyer, Alan Futerfas, told McClatchy.
Torshin also allegedly tried to arrange a meeting with the president near the NRA convention site last May, Trump’s son-in-law and key adviser Jared Kushner, reportedly nixed the idea, McClatchy reported.
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