Back in 2013, the newly minted National Security Advisor John Bolton made his living attacking President Obama’s foreign policy on Fox News almost daily.
In between appearances on Hannity and Bill O’Reilly’s shows, he found time to participate in a pro-gun rights group’s campaign to legalize firearm possession. As part of that campaign, he cut a curious video talking about how gun ownership is a central right all citizens deserve.
It was curious not for what he said so much, but for who he said it to. The video, you see, was part of a group cleverly called The Right to Bear Arms’ push to establish a second amendment style law in – wait for it – the Russian Federation.
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The Right to Bear Arms was formed by Russians ostensibly as a way to pressure the Russian government to legalize gun ownership in that country. But in reality, it’s a group that’s facilitated Russian dictator Vladimir Putin’s push to forge links between the Kremlin and American conservatives groups like the National Rifle Association.
“The Bolton video appears to be another plank in a bridge built by Russia to conservative political organizations inside the United States,” writes Tim Mak at npr.org. “It’s unclear why Russian leaders wanted to curry favor with the NRA, but Torshin and [former NRA President] David Keene appeared to have developed close ties over in the years prior to the 2016 election.”
More from NPR:
“It’s a relationship that has outsized importance now that the FBI is reportedly investigating whether Torshin illegally funneled money to the NRA to assist the Trump campaign in 2016, as McClatchy reported in January. The NRA has denied wrongdoing.”
While this connection to Russia is new, John Bolton has been a controversial figure in American politics for years.
Well known inside the Washington conservative think-tank circuit for decades, most of us in the general public first learned about him when President George W. Bush used a controversial recess appointment to slip him in through the back door as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nation because he would not have been confirmed by the Senate.
You can watch the bizarre video below.