There are new reports that prominent Russians who are friends of Russian President Vladimir Putin had numerous contacts with officials from the National Rifle Association (NRA) during the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign.
Investigative reporter McClatchy said that the identification of the Russians was made through photographs and through a confidential source within the NRA.Â An article with this important and shocking new information was posted early Monday morning, and announced on Twitter:
“BREAKING: Several prominent Russians, some in President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle or high in the Russian Orthodox Church, now have been identified as having contact with
@NRA officials during the 2016 U.S. election campaign.”
BREAKING: Several prominent Russians, some in President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle or high in the Russian Orthodox Church, now have been identified as having contact with @NRA officials during the 2016 U.S. election campaign. https://t.co/goKK64ZaNs
— Shannon Watts (@shannonrwatts) June 11, 2018
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) is already investigating Russian banker and lifetime NRA member Alexander Torshin for illegally channeling money through the NRA to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, which would be a violation of U.S. campaign finance laws.
Other influential Russians who met with NRA representatives during the campaign include:
- Dmitry Rogozin, former deputy prime minister overseeing Russia’s defense industry, and
- Sergei Rudov, head of one of Russia’s largest philanthropies, the St. Basil the Great Charitable Foundation.
Both are known to be close allies of Putin.
According to McClatchy, “the Russians talked and dined with NRA representatives, mainly in Moscow, as U.S. presidential candidates vied for the White House.”
The DOJ is investigating whether or not these social gatherings in Russia between Putin’s friends and one of Trump‘s biggest financial backers in the U.S. were part of theÂ Kremlin’s extensive and illegal election-interference operation.
The DOJ investigators already know that Russian cyber spies and hackers were illegally accessing top Democrats’ emails, as well as using automated bot technology to flood American social media accounts with fake news stories.
All of these efforts were designed to harm Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and help Republican Donald Trump.
A photograph that was taken during a 2015 trip to Russia by NRA executives showed them meeting with Torshin, Rogozin and Rudov. In addition, an NRA source confirmed that the meeting took place.
The NRA was Trump’s biggest financial backer and they contributed over $30 million to his presidential campaign. Â It has been speculated that much of this money was secretly funneled from Russia to help Trump, and this latest report supports that theory. Â It is expected that the ultimate findings of special counsel Robert Mueller will include more details concerning the flow of money from Russia to the NRA to the Trump presidential campaign.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.