In case you missed it, on Friday special counsel Robert Mueller charged 13 Russian nationals and three Russian entities with 2016 election “information warfare” against the United States during the 2016 presidential election.
As McClatchy reported that the FBI is investigating “whether Russian money went to [the] NRA to help Trump” get elected, Friday’s indictment confirms previous reporting that suggested the Russians relied on NRA rhetoric for many of their 2016 election ads.
For months, the NRA has refused to answer basic questions about its ties to Russia and Putin’s regime. Five days after McClatchy’s report, the NRA issued a carefully worded statement through its outside counsel, saying it has “not been contacted by the FBI about anything related to Russia.” Besides that statement, the NRA has ignored growing questions about its relationship with Russia for nearly a year.
The NRA reported spending a record $55 million on the 2016 elections, including $30 million to support Trump – nearly triple what the group devoted to backing Republican Mitt Romney during the 2012 presidential race. Most of that money was spent by an arm of the NRA that is not required to disclose its donors, and according to McClatchy, NRA spending may have actually exceeded $70 million during the 2016 election.
And two weeks ago, Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) sent letters to U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and the NRA’s Treasurer requesting documents about possible financial ties between Russia and the NRA. Sen. Wyden’s letter to the NRA requested the documents no later than last Friday, February 16.