Apparently, the National Rifle Association (NRA) is somehow even more insidious than previously imagined. Not only do they celebrate the murder of children nationwide, but they are reportedly as intertwined in Russian espionage as Trump lawyer Michael Cohen.
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Democrats on the Senate Judiciary committee have documents in their possession suggesting that the NRA coordinated with Russia to help facilitate Trump’s election in the 2016 campaign.
The 22-page Senate document outlines the preliminary findings from their investigation into Russian meddling, stating that the Kremlin might have “used the NRA to secretly fund Mr. Trump’s campaign.”
“The Committee has obtained a number of documents that suggest the Kremlin used the National Rifle Association as a means of accessing and assisting Mr. Trump and his campaign.”
Democrats pegged two individuals of particular interest: Alexander Torshin, deputy governor of the Central Bank of Russia, and Maria Butina, a Russian national living in the U.S. Butina worked as Torshin’s assistant during the time in question.
Torshin is a close ally of Russian President and Trump-enthusiast Vladimir Putin. Democrats allege that both Torshin and Butina were significant agents in the Russian effort to use the NRA’s propaganda channel to aid Trump.
“[Butina and Torshin] repeatedly offered the campaign back channels to Russia and relayed requests from President Putin to meet with Mr. Trump. The Kremlin may also have used the NRA to secretly fund Mr. Trump’s campaign.”
Both Butina and Torshin have ties to former NRA president David Keen, who served from 2011-2013, going so far as to host him at a pro-gun conference in Russia. Butina also created the Russian equivalent of the NRA, “Right to Bear Arms.”
Additionally curious is a business Butina started with former Trump adviser Paul Erickson in February of 2016. Butina and Erickson created the South Dakota-based Bridges LLC for Butina to get financial assistance for her graduate studies.
If this move seems familiar, Michael Cohen started his own pass-through, Essential Consultants LLC, around the same time. His business was supposedly for real estate investment, though research done by Stephanie “Stormy Daniels” Clifford’s attorney Michael Avenatti proved that to be a Russian slush fund.
Investigators have reportedly requested interview records and documents related to Torshin’s efforts to get Trump and Putin in the same room. Butina, Torshin, and Erickson have all refused to cooperate.
It was also noted that Butina has refused to cooperate as a witness, independently of her unwillingness to provide requested documentation.
This is adding to an already chaotic week for the president, who has kept his schedule incredibly light in spite of being “too busy” to visit his wife when she went in for routine surgery.
Just this morning, the White House submitted Trump’s 2017 financial disclosure forms and had to finally acknowledge Trump’s reimbursement of Michael Cohen’s $130,000 hush payment to Stephanie “Stormy Daniels” Clifford.
Many were quick to point out the potential felony committed by Trump’s team after voluntarily omitting the 2016 payment from his 2017 disclosure form.
On top of that, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) is engaged in an ongoing investigation into suspicious contributions Russians gave to the NRA during Trump’s presidential bid. The “not-for-profit” National Rifle Association spent $30 million in support of Trump, some of which might have been funded by Russian interests.
Republicans were hoping to silence the cries of collusion when Republican Chuck Grassley released hundreds of pages of transcript from the Judiciary Committee’s interviews with participants from the infamous 2016 Trump Tower meeting.
As a reminder, Donald Trump Jr. took the meeting in exchange for promised dirt on his father’s presidential rival, Hillary Clinton. Trump Sr. reportedly has no knowledge of this meeting, or at least what was discussed behind closed doors in his signature Manhattan high-rise.
However, Trump Jr. made two separate calls to a blocked number bookending a call to Emin Agalarov, an Azerbaijani singer and businessman, whose father Aras Agalarov is an oligarch closely linked to Putin. Republicans refused to subpoena Trump Jr.’s phone records to verify the identity of the blocked caller, but Democrats believe it may have been calls to his father, invalidating Trump Sr.’s claim he knew nothing of the content of the meeting.
Unfortunately, Republicans have decided to keep their interviews regarding the meeting as vague as possible. The transcripts Grassley released only interview five of the eight participants in the meeting, creating an effective barricade against the Democrat’s investigation:
“We still do not know the full story about the June 9 meeting at Trump Tower or, more broadly, the degree to which the campaign cooperated or communicated with Russia,” the Democrats said.
At this point, one thing is absolutely for certain: Donald Trump only managed to get as far as he has through deception. The exact channels through which his bloated form ebbed to successfully pull off the greatest caper since Nixon claimed he was “not a crook” might yet to be exposed, but his obvious willingness to trade our democracy for his personal gains is so bright MAGA-heads must be gouging out their eyes so as not to see it.
Unfortunately for them, ignorance of facts is not a legal defense.