McClatchy reported a connection between Russian money that went to the NRA, who piled $30M into Trump’s campaign. As Michelle Goldberg asks Is This the Collusion We Were Waiting For?
In short, a very influential Russian mobster, wanted to face money laundering charges in Spain, Aleksandr Torshin is deputy governor of the Russian central bank, and of course close to Putin, has been cultivating connections to the NRA, and by extension the GOP, for years. He also met with Donald Trump, Jr. at the RNC (while others were meeting with the Russian ambassador, Fredo was with Torshin). Torshin allegedly funneled Russian money to the NRA who then made it rain in unprecedented fashion on Trump (money, not pee).
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.
Russia has been making ties with American conservatives for years, white nationalists and yes, even the NRA although Putin is not in favor of gun rights for Russians. But you’d expect that from an autocrat wouldn’t you?
If a relationship between the N.R.A., Trump and Russia exists, Torshin and Butina appear to be the nexus of it. Torshin helped create a Russian gun-rights group called Right to Bear Arms, and Butina runs it. The purpose of the group is ambiguous. Gun laws in Russia are strict, and if people close to Putin actually wanted to change them, creating a group alluding to America’s Second Amendment seems like a weird way to do it. As Simpson said in his House testimony: “Vladimir Putin is not in favor of universal gun ownership for Russians. And so it’s all a big charade, basically.”
That $30 million, however, is just what the N.R.A. spent on the presidential race. It also backed other candidates, reportedly spending $55 million overall. The organization helped Republicans cement control of Congress. If it did so with Russia’s assistance, the whole party is implicated.
It’s all worth a read and worth seeing Rachel Maddow’s segment on it from 1/18/18. I am certain that it’s going to end up being revealed as just one form of many forms of collusion that took place in the election. An entire network of Russian spies, Russian plutocrats and Russian nogoodniks made contact with stupid Americans who naively believed anybody that says they’re on their team, with a wink, a nod and white power salute, is a teammate. None of these Americans ever stopped to think could this be illegal? Amazingly, even after the FBI told the Trump campaign that foreigners might try to contact them and curry favor, they continued to actively stay in contact with them. So they’re stupid and brazen. And the more the authorities investigate the wider a net they need to cast.