Trump campaign offered by the operator & # 39; Connection with Kremlin & # 39; using N.R.A. Ties –

Trump campaign offered by the operator & # 39; Connection with Kremlin & # 39; using N.R.A. Ties


"Putin is very serious about building a good relationship with Mr. Trump," the N.R.A. member and conservative activist, Paul Erickson, wrote. "He wants to extend an invitation to Mr. Trump to visit him in the Kremlin before the elections, let's talk about what happened and Senator Sessions' advice on how to proceed."

It's not clear how Mr. Dearborn handled the reaching. He submitted a similar proposal, made through Rick Clay, defender of conservative Christian causes, to Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law and campaign badistant. Mr. Kushner rejected the proposal at that time, according to two people who have seen Mr. Kushner's email.

Mr. The sessions told investigators of the House Intelligence Committee that he did not remember the scope, according to three people with knowledge of the exchange. Mr. Dearborn did not return requests for comment, and Ty Cobb, the White House attorney who deals with matters related to the investigations, declined to comment. The repeated attempts to reach Mr. Erickson were not successful.

Intelligence agencies have concluded that Russia, on orders from the highest levels of its government, undertook a sophisticated campaign to hack Democratic computers, spread propaganda and undermine the candidacy of Hillary Clinton. The repeated range around N.R.A. The convention, where Trump accepted the group's endorsement, came just weeks after a self-described middleman of the Russian government told George Papadopoulos, a campaign badistant, that the Russians had "dirt" with Mrs. Clinton. And a few weeks later, the president's eldest son organized a meeting at Trump Tower with a Russian lawyer who promised damaging information about the Democratic challenger.

"The Kremlin believes that the only possibility of a true restoration in this relationship would be to be with a new Republican White House," Mr. Erickson wrote to Mr. Dearborn, adding, "Since Hillary compared Putin to Hitler, all high Russian leaders consider it beyond redemption "


Alexander Torshin, a deputy governor of the Russian central bank and key figure in Mr. Putin's United Russia party, was instructed to contact the Trump campaign.

Stanislav Krasilnikov / TASS, via Getty Images

Congressional investigators obtained the email as part of their investigation into Russia's interference in the 2016 presidential election and whether the Trump campaign helped the efforts. It seems that it also caught the attention of the senators. Senator Dianne Feinstein of California, the leading Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, wrote letters to several foreign policy advisers from the Trump campaign last week requesting all documents related to the NRA, Mr. Erickson, Mr. Torshin , Mr. Clay, Mr. Dearborn and others.

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Mr. Erickson, a long-time conservative agent who has participated in several presidential campaigns, appeared in the e-mail as a well connected intermediary to the upper levels of the Russian government. By "chance" and the scope of the NRA, Mr. Erickson wrote, he had been put in a position to "slowly start cultivating a back channel to President Putin's Kremlin" in recent years.

"Russia seeks silently but actively" a dialogue with the USA. UU that does not occur in the current administration, "he wrote.

In fact, the evidence seems to show deep ties between Mr. Erickson, the NRA and the Russian gun rights community that was formed in the years when many American conservatives unhappy with the policies of the Obama administration, they increasingly viewed Putin as an example of a strong leader who opposed immigration, terrorism and the rights of homobaduals.

The NRA was one of the main sponsors Mr. Trump during the campaign, spending tens of millions of dollars to help him choose.

Mr. Erickson met Maria Butina, former badistant to Mr. Torshin and founder of the Right to Bear Arms, a Russian rights group. For several years, Ms. Butina, who helped Mr. Torshin to apply through Mr. Clay, received Mr. Erickson at a group meeting in September 2014 at his Moscow office. In February 2016, the two incorporated a company, Bridges LLC, together in South Dakota. What the company does is not clear.

In December 2015, Mr. Erickson returned to Russia as part of an N.R.A. delegation that included David Keene, the former president of the group, the best donors and David A. Clarke Jr., the former Sheriff of Milwaukee County who became a popular substitute for the Trump campaign. At one stop, the group met with Dmitry Rogozin, the deputy prime minister in charge of the defense. A photograph of the meeting shows that Mr. Torshin was also present.

In the United States, hospitality was returned. Mr. Torshin and Ms. Butina attended the annual convention of N.R.A. in 2014 and 2015. Ms. Butina told the conservative news site Townhall that she attended N.R.A. Female leadership lunch as guest of Sandra S. Froman, former president of the group. And in 2015, he was toured by the headquarters of N.R.A. in Virginia.

Attempts to contact Ms. Butina were unsuccessful.

Mr. Erickson does not explicitly name Mr. Torshin in the email to Mr. Dearborn, but the message seems to refer to him, people familiar with the communication said. Instead, he describes "President Putin's emissary on this front", whose plans coincide with those of Mr. Torshin.

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Mr. Torshin, he wrote, planned to attend a reception that Mr. Clay was planning to honor the injured veterans who expected Mr. Trump to attend as well. Mr. Torshin hoped to use the reception to "make" the first "contact" with the candidate and to present Mr. Trump's wife, Melania, with a gift from the Russian Orthodox Church.

According to Mr. Clay, neither Mr. Trump nor his campaign officials attended the veterans dinner. The president's son, Donald Trump Jr., and Mr. Torshin did attend an N.R.A. dinner that night.

Mr. Torshin served in the upper chamber of the Russian Parliament and was a member of the country's National Anti-Terrorist Committee, a government body that includes the Ministers of Defense, Interior and Foreign Affairs and the director of the Federal Security Service, known as the FSB, the successor of the KGB. He has been an important defender of arms rights in Russia and of linking the government and the Russian Orthodox Church more closely.

Spanish investigators say that while in Parliament, Mr. Torshin laundered money for the Russian mafia through Spanish banks and properties. Mr. Torshin has denied those accusations.

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