Donald Jr. Met With Russian Ex-Banker Accused Of Money Laundering

Donald Trump Jr. is interviewed by host Sean Hannity on his Fox News Channel television program, in New York Tuesday, July 11, 2017.  (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
Richard Drew/AP
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Aleksander Torshin, a former Russian parliamentarian and banking official accused of laundering money for organized crime by Spanish authorities last year, met with Donald Trump, Jr. according to a new report by CBS.

The younger Donald met with Torshin for only a few minutes at an NRA event in 2016, according to the network’s anonymous source. Torshin had proposed meeting with the senior Donald Trump during an event scheduled to take place during the NRA’s annual convention in Louisville, Ky. According to the New York Times, the invitation was an emailed five-page proposal passed to Jared Kushner inviting the president to the event—he did not attend—where Trump could meet Torshin.

Torshin, who runs an all-Russian organization called The Right to Bear Arms, pitched the campaign’s shared values around both Christianity and gun rights, for which Torshin, a lifetime member of the American NRA, is an advocate in Russia.

Torshin contacted the campaign through a Christian advocate and former Iraq contractor in West Virginia named Rick Clay. Also in May 2016, Clay emailed campaign staffer and now White House deputy chief of staff Rick Dearborn to offer a channel to Torshin; Dearborn emailed Kushner offering a “Russian backdoor overture and dinner invite,” according to the email’s subject line. Kushner left the email out of documents he provided to the Senate Intelligence Committee, who requested it specifically among “several documents that are known to exist” in a follow-up.

Both Torshin and his assistant, Maria Butina, claim to be members of an all-Russian organization called The Right to Bear Arms, named after the second amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Butina, a former Siberian furniture store owner, according to the Daily Beast, now lives in Washington, D.C.

A delegation of the NRA met with The Right to Bear Arms on a trip to Moscow in December 2015, the Beast reported. Butina also shares a business with Paul Erickson, a longtime Republican activist.

The CBS report referred only to “an NRA event in May 2016” but previous reporting on the topic suggests that Torshin sought Trump Sr. and got Trump Jr.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sam Thielman is an investigative reporter for Talking Points Memo based in Manhattan. He has worked as a reporter and critic for the Guardian, Variety, Adweek and Newsday, where he covered stories from the hacking attacks on US and international targets by Russian GRU and FSB security services to the struggle to bring broadband internet to the Navajo nation. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and son and too many comic books.
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