In case you missed it, a new Yahoo! report uncovered that the FBI has obtained secret wiretaps from Spanish authorities of conversations between an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin with ties to the NRA, Alexander Torshin and Alexander Romanov, a convicted Russian money launderer. As Yahoo! reported, the revelation that the FBI sought out the wiretaps is another indication that the FBI is investigating whether Torshin may have illegally funneled money to the NRA to help elect Donald Trump in 2016.
“The FBI has obtained secret wiretaps collected by Spanish police of conversations involving Alexander Torshin, a deputy governor of Russia’s Central Bank who has forged close ties with U.S. lawmakers and the National Rifle Association, that led to a meeting with Donald Trump Jr. during the gun lobby’s annual convention in Louisville, Ky., in May 2016, a top Spanish prosecutor said Friday.
“The comments by [Spanish anti-corruption prosecutor] Grinda were the first clear sign that the FBI may be investigating Torshin, possibly as a part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. 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. Although the summit never transpired, Torshin did meet briefly with the president’s son at a private dinner in Louisville during the May 2016 annual convention of the NRA. A member of the NRA since 2012, Torshin has been a regular attendee of the group’s conventions in recent years and hosted senior members of the group in Moscow.”
Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon has sent multiple letters to the NRA requesting information about its ties to Torshin and other Russian figures, seeking to get to the bottom of whether Russian money was funneled to the NRA to help pay for the more than $30 million the group spent supporting President Donald Trump’s election.
The NRA responded to Sen. Wyden’s latest letter through its lawyer by saying Torshin has only paid his membership dues to the group. Previously, the NRA had said it took no Russia-affiliated donations during 2015-2016. The NRA later acknowledged that it had received more than $2,500 from at least 23 Russia-connected individuals since 2015. After Torshin was sanctioned by the Treasury Department earlier this year, the NRA said that it was “reviewing our responsibilities with respect to him.”