NPR: Top Putin Ally and Lifetime NRA Member Cultivated Ties with NRA for Years to “Leverage Those Connections and Gain Access Deeper Into American Politics”
NEW YORK – Everytown for Gun Safety today released the following statement responding to a new NPR report revealing stunning ties between NRA leadership and top Putin ally and lifetime NRA member Alexander Torshin, who is reportedly attracting scrutiny from FBI investigators. According to NPR, Torshin “methodically cultivated ties with leaders of the National Rifle Association, and documented efforts in real time over six years to leverage those connections and gain access deeper into American politics.”
STATEMENT FROM JOHN FEINBLATT, PRESIDENT OF EVERYTOWN FOR GUN SAFETY:
“These revelations suggest that for years the NRA courted a top Putin ally who is now reportedly attracting scrutiny from the FBI. NRA leaders still haven’t explained their close relationship with Russian officials in Putin’s orbit. Until they do, people will continue to wonder what the NRA is hiding.”
- Top Putin ally and lifetime NRA member Alexander Torshin had personal relationships or meetings with not two, but four NRA presidents, including every NRA president since mid-2011.
- Torshin attended not three, but at least five consecutive NRA conventions between 2012 and 2016.
- Torshin claimed that his ties to the NRA “opened access” for him to be an international election observer in Tennessee during the 2012 election and gain access “to any [polling] station.”
- Torshin also claimed to know President Donald Trump through his ties to the NRA.
The report comes amid recent revelations by McClatchy that the “FBI is investigating whether Russian money went to [the] NRA to help Trump” get elected in 2016. The NRA later issued a statement through its outside counsel, who said the NRA had “not been contacted by the FBI about anything related to Russia.” Most recently, the NRA responded to a letter from Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), who requested any documents showing financial links between Russia and the NRA, with a six-paragraph letter that cited the “the group’s policies prohibiting acceptance of foreign money. … [The] letter did not directly deny that any Russian funds may have flowed into its coffers in 2016,” according to McClatchy.
Torshin also chose the setting of the NRA convention in 2016 to try to arrange a meeting between himself and then-candidate Trump or top Trump campaign officials. Reportedly, Torshin ultimately spoke with Donald Trump Jr. The NRA has not answered whether it had knowledge of, or helped facilitate, any interaction between Torshin and Donald Trump Jr.
A prominent Kremlin-linked Russian politician has methodically cultivated ties with leaders of the National Rifle Association, and documented efforts in real time over six years to leverage those connections and gain access deeper into American politics, NPR has learned.
Russian politician Alexander Torshin claimed his ties to the National Rifle Association provided him access to Donald Trump — and the opportunity to serve as a foreign election observer in the United States during the 2012 election.
Torshin is a prolific Twitter user, logging nearly 150,000 tweets, mostly in Russian, since his account was created in 2011. Previously obscured by language and by sheer volume of tweets, Torshin has written numerous times about his connections with the NRA, of which he’s a known paid lifetime member. NPR has translated a selection of those posts that document Torshin’s relationship to the group.
These revelations come amid news that the FBI is investigating whether Torshin, the deputy governor of the Bank of Russia, illegally funneled money to the National Rifle Association to assist the Trump campaign in 2016, McClatchy reported in January.