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ICYMI: Senator Tim Kaine Questions Whether John Bolton Can Get Security Clearance After Russian Gun Rights Video Surfaces

March 26, 2018

In case you missed it, Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) questioned whether incoming White House national security adviser John Bolton could get full security clearance, citing Bolton’s contacts with foreign governments, including encouraging the Russian government to loosen its gun laws.

Politico reports:

“I wonder about that,” Kaine said on CNN’s “State of the Union,” pointing to Bolton’s 2013 appearance in a video recorded for a Russian gun rights group backed by an oligarch and ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“These kinds of contacts with foreign governments … raise real questions in my mind as to whether he can get a full security clearance or not.”

According to Fox News, on Sunday a spokesman for Bolton responded: “The Ambassador [Bolton] was asked by former [National Rifle Association] president Dave Keene to record a video for presentation to the upper house of the Russian parliament, the Federation Council. The Ambassador has never heard of The Right to Bear Arms until recent news coverage of the group.”

Last week, NPR reported that in 2013, former NRA President David Keene had former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton film a video praising “a new era of freedom” in Russia and encouraging the Russian government to loosen its gun laws. The video was used in advocacy efforts by Alexander Torshin’s Russian gun rights group, the Right to Bear Arms. Torshin, who is close with Keene, is reportedly at the center of an FBI probe into “whether Russian money went to the NRA to help Trump” in 2016. Keene previously appointed Bolton to the NRA’s international affairs subcommittee in 2011.

More information about the 2013 video is available here.

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