The jig is up for Donald Trump Jr.
Spanish police have handed the FBI wiretaps they obtained of conversations between Alexander Torshin, a deputy governor of Russia’s Central Bank, and Alexander Romanov, a convicted Russian money launderer that led to a meeting between Torshin and Donald Trump Jr. during the annual NRA convention in Louisville, Kentucky, in May 2016.
José Grinda, a senior Spanish prosecutor with a long history of investigating organized crime, told Yahoo! News that FBI officials requested transcripts of the secret wiretaps between the two Russians which were provided to them “a few months ago.”
If the nature of the conversations recorded is in question, suffice it to say that the money launderer, Romanov, calls Torshin “El Padrino,” or “the Godfather,” during the exchange.
When asked if he had concerns about Torshin’s meetings with the president’s oldest son and other Republican politicians during the NRA gathering, Grinda had the perfect response: “Mr. Trump’s son should be concerned.”
With the transcripts already in the hands of the FBI, Special Counsel Robert Mueller has surely seen them and is likely investigating what role Torshin played in the Russian meddling in the 2016 election. According to Yahoo! News,
“Torshin — a close political ally of Vladimir Putin — had multiple contacts with conservative activists in the United States during the election, seeking to set up a summit between the Russian president and then candidate Trump.”
The summit never took place, but Torshin did manage to get an audience with Don Jr. at the NRA convention. The Russian banker has also attended most of the recent NRA conclaves and has hosted senior NRA members in Moscow. He also happens to be one of the many Russian oligarchs reluctantly sanctioned by Trump after Congress forced his hand after the poisoning of a Russian dissident in London with a rare nerve agent.
Torshin was being wiretapped by Spanish police as part of a money-laundering investigation that picked up 33 conversations between the banker and the convicted currency cleaner Romanov. The Spanish police were planning on arresting Torshin when he was scheduled to fly to Mallorca for Romanov’s birthday party, but Torshin never showed up. The Spanish authorities suspect that he was tipped off by Russian officials who knew of the arrest plans.
Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) has questioned NRA officials about its ties to Torshin and other Russian figures, asking whether Russian money was illegally funneled to the NRA to help pay for the more than $30 million the group spent on political activities during the 2016 election.
The NRA has denied receiving any significant money from Russian nationals but is reviewing its relationship with Torshin in light of the new sanctions.
“Based on Mr. Torshin’s listing as a specially designated national as of April 6, we are currently reviewing our responsibilities with respect to him,” NRA general counsel John Frazer replied to Wyden.
A lawyer for Donald Trump Jr. gave no comment when contacted by Yahoo! News, but one would be as hard-pressed to believe any denials from his camp as they would be to believe anything his father says. Add one more Russian to list of meetings the Trump family had with Kremlin-linked figures during the campaign that they deny colluding with.
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