The NRA As Collateral Damage From Il Trumpe

This only be a good thing (boldface mine):

Maybe the most explosive omission pertained to a Russian mob boss who also happens to be good friends with Vladimir Putin and the deputy governor of the Russian central bank.

Alexander Torshin, a former senior member of the Russian Senate, has been described as “a vociferous Putin ally,” as well as a “mafia godfather.” The Spanish authorities have 33 audio recordings of phone conversations where Torshin is referred to as “boss” or “godfather.” These recordings also implicate Torshin in a vast money laundering scheme. However, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher of California refers to Torshin as “conservatives’ favorite Russian.” And it’s true. Conservatives seem to love the guy.

This past February, Republican bigwig donor George O’Neill Jr. hosted “a fancy four-hour dinner” for Torshin at a Capitol Hill restaurant that attracted Rohrabacher and a host of other conservatives. Torshin was even slated to have a meeting with President Trump until his mob connections came up and the meeting was cancelled. The love affair appears to have more to do with guns than anything else. Torshin is the founder of the Russian gun rights group Right to Bear Arms. He has been trying to find common cause with the National Rifle Association

Jared Kushner didn’t initially disclose that he had emails pertaining to Mr. Torshin, but the Judiciary Committee had received copies from Paul Manafort and Rick Gates who had been copied on the chain. It began with an inquiry from another NRA fundraiser named Paul Erickson.

…the FBI now suspects Torshin of illegally financing the Trump campaign using the NRA as a cutout.

From McClatchy (boldface mine):

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.

Two people with close connections to the powerful gun lobby said its total election spending actually approached or exceeded $70 million. The reporting gap could be explained by the fact that independent groups are not required to reveal how much they spend on Internet ads or field operations, including get-out-the-vote efforts.

If the NRA gets taken down over acting as a foreign agent to affect an election outcome via money laundering, that alone would make the Mueller probe worth it.

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