The NRA (National Rifle Association) stomps through the country like Godzilla, crushing any attempts at regulating the weapons that caused the Las Vegas mass destruction and many others. Yet, there appears to be a chink in the NRA’s armor, and the FBI is onto it.
Donald Trump spoke before the NRA, the first president to do that in 30 years. He said:
‘The eight-year assault on your second amendment freedoms has come to a crashing end.’
It appears that a top Russian banker linked to the Kremlin funneled money to the NRA to help Donald Trump win in 2016, according to two McClatchy sources.
The FBI counterintelligence investigators have honed in on the deputy governor of Russia’s central bank, Alexander Torshin. The man has close ties with both the NRA and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin.
The reason that the FBI is involved is that using foreign money to influence our federal elections is illegal. At this time, the length of the Torshin investigation is unknown. Yet, news of his troubles have come to light just as the Justice Department Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation has reached its most intense point.
The focus of Muller’s investigation is Russia interfering with our nation’s 2016 election. The FBI has been investigating Russia for a year and a half. Its focal point has been whether or not Moscow helped fund Donald Trump’s presidential run, and whether the Trump campaign promised the Kremlin something in return.
The NRA spent $55 million in the 2016 elections. That included a whopping $30 million for the Trump campaign. That was triple the amount the NRA spent on Republican Mitt Romney, when he ran for president in 2012. The NRA does not have to reveal its donors.
In total, the powerful gun lobby spent at least $70 million. The difference between that amount and the NRA’s reported $55 million is that independent groups can spend any amount on internet ads and field operations without revealing how much. The field ops also include get-out-the-vote endeavors.
At a presidential campaign rally, Trump menacingly commented, according to McClatchy:
‘If she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do folks. Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is, I don’t know.’
Torshin has been involved in money laundering in Spain. He was linked to Russian money laundering. According to Bloomberg News, one of its investigative reports said:
‘(The) godfather in a major Russian criminal organization called Taganskaya capitalized on his government role to assist mobsters laundering funds through Spanish properties and banks.’
Torshin met with Donald Trump Jr. in Louisville, Kentucky in May 2016, and at the time the NRA endorsed Trump Sr. The NRA gave Trump its endorsement far earlier than it typically does. Torshin also met with the younger Trump at the NRA convention. The Russian attempted to set up a meeting between the Republican presidential candidate and Putin, but he failed.
The FBI is investigating Torshin and several billionaires linked to Putin and “pro-Russian Ukrainian oligarchs” who have contacted either Trump or one of his representatives. Torshin also helped set up a Moscow gun rights group, Right to Bear Arms.
Several high-level NRA members spent a week in Moscow in 2015, and they met with important Russian business and government people. Torshin hosted two dinners for the Americans while they were there.
Featured Image via Getty Images/Chip Somodevilla.