The FBI is investigating whether a top Russian banker with ties to the Kremlin illegally funneled money to the National Rifle Association to help Donald Trump win the presidency, two sources familiar with the matter have told McClatchy.
FBI counterintelligence investigators have focused on the activities of Alexander Torshin, the deputy governor of Russia’s central bank who is known for his close relationships with both Russian President Vladimir Putin and the NRA, the sources said.
It is illegal to use foreign money to influence federal elections.
It’s unclear how long the Torshin inquiry has been ongoing, but the news comes as Justice Department Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s sweeping investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 election, including whether the Kremlin colluded with Trump’s campaign, has been heating up.
All of the sources spoke on condition of anonymity because Mueller’s investigation is confidential and mostly involves classified information.
A spokesman for Mueller’s office declined comment.
You have to admit, Russians funneling money to Trump through the NRA is about the maximum GOP in GOP scandal. And this isn't the first time Alexander Torshin's name has come up in the Russian collusion investigation, either.
Allegations of collusion continued to pile up against Donald Trump Jr. this week, with the New York Times reporting Friday that the first son went to a May 2016 dinner attended by a top Russian official who was trying to set up a covert meeting with the campaign.
NBC News confirmed Saturday that Donald Trump Jr. talked with Alexander Torshin, a friend of Russian President Vladimir Putin and the deputy head of the country's central bank, at an event hosted by the National Rifle Association in Kentucky. But the first son's lawyer insisted the duo didn't sit together.
Don Jr. met with Torshin at an NRA event in 2016 right here in Kentucky. Hmmm. Jared Kushner is linked to the same NRA event too.
President Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, failed to disclose what lawmakers called a "Russian backdoor overture and dinner invite" involving a banker who has been accused of links to Russian organized crime, three sources familiar with the matter told NBC News.
An email chain described Aleksander Torshin, a former senator and deputy head of Russia's central bank who is close to Russian President Vladimir Putin, as wanting Trump to attend an event on the sidelines of a National Rifle Association convention in Louisville, Kentucky, in May 2016, the sources said. The email also suggests Torshin was seeking to meet with a high-level Trump campaign official during the convention, and that he may have had a message for Trump from Putin, the sources said.
Torshin has quite the reputation internationally, it turns out. He's been in Washington DC a lot, lately, like the time he tried to meet Trump himself at the National Prayer Breakfast last spring.
The leader of the delegation, central bank Deputy Chairman Alexander Torshin, a former senator who laughs off Spanish claims that he’s a crime boss, was even hoping to shake hands with Trump, an old acquaintance. But the White House nixed the meet-and-greet at the last minute without explanation, according to two Russians familiar with the matter.
The brief meeting Torshin was due to have with Trump was canceled after a White House aide realized the Russian had been suspected of being a mafia “godfather,” Yahoo News reported, citing five people it didn’t identify.
The White House said a meeting with Torshin at the National Prayer Breakfast was never on Trump’s agenda.
Torshin declined to elaborate on his trip, saying only that he’s been to the annual event 12 times. In an interview with Bloomberg last year, the gun enthusiast said he’s known Trump for five years and the two men last had a jovial exchange at the National Rifle Association convention in Tennessee in 2015, just before the future president announced his run for the White House.
Spanish cops pretty much know he's a mobbed up, and rather deep.
On February 1, Alexander Porfirievich Torshin, 63, a Russian politician and banker who is close to Vladimir Putin and whom the Spanish anti-corruption prosecutor and the Civil Guard define in their reports as a godfather from a notorious Russian mafia organization, had in his diary for the next day an appointment to meet in Washington with the world’s most powerful man: Donald Trump. The encounter was due to take place before an official and well-attended breakfast meeting, which Torshin attended as the head of a Russian delegation. The meeting was canceled that very night, according to sources from the White House, given the wave of criticism in the US press related to the influence of certain Russian circles in President Trump’s power teams. But the information reveals the heights to which this person, who has been investigated by the Spanish authorities, had reached in his rise to the upper echelons of the American leader’s circle.
Now the FBI is investigating Torshin and any illegal campaign contributions he may have made to the NRA. Better believe Mueller knows far more about this subject than the story lets on, too.