A Russian politician who is well connected in the Kremlin stated that his ties to the National Rifle Association have given him access to President Donald Trump.
NPR reported Thursday that Alexander Torshin, a former Russian senator and the deputy governor of Russia’s central bank, has touted his connections to the NRA on his public, verified Twitter account. In 2015, Torshin tweeted that he knew Trump through the NRA while citing a connection from the group’s convention. His tweet came in response to comedian Larry David’s criticism of Trump, whom he claimed was racist.
“I know D. Trump (through NRA). A decent person,” he tweeted, according to NPR’s translation.
The Hill reported that tweets from Torshin, a lifetime NRA member, also document that he has met with every NRA president since 2012. Torshin as well tweeted that he was able to come to the U.S. as a foreign election observer in 2012 because of his NRA connections.
“I was there at Obama’s last election! The NRA card, to me as an observer from Russia, opened access to any polling station,” he tweeted in January 2015, according to NPR.
At the moment, the FBI is investigating if Torshin illegally gave money to the NRA to support Trump’s presidential bid.
In May 2016, Torshin also spoke for a few minutes with the president’s son Donald Trump Jr. during an NRA event where they had a short meeting. The meeting was confirmed by Trump Jr.’s lawyer, who said that the president’s son “was attending an NRA convention and having dinner when an acquaintance asked him to say hello to Torshin and made an introduction.”
Meanwhile, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff, said that they should start investigating possible links to the NRA.
“I can’t go into what we’ve been able to learn thus far on that issue. I can tell you it’s one of deep concern to me and to other members of the committee, that we get to the bottom of these allegations that the Russians may have sought to funnel money through the NRA,” Schiff said. “It would be negligent of us not to investigate.”