A Russian politician with links to the Kremlin is claiming that his connections to the National Rifle Association (NRA) have given him access to President TrumpDonald TrumpHillicon Valley — Presented by Xerox — Twitter's algorithm boosts right-leaning content, internal study finds Ohio Democrat calls Vance an 'ass----' over Baldwin tweet Matt Taibbi says Trump's rhetoric caused public perception of US intelligence services to shift MORE, NPR reported Thursday.
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, NPR reported.
In November 2015, he tweeted that he knew Trump through the NRA, citing a connection from the group's convention. He made the claim in response to comedian Larry David accusing Trump of being racist.
“I know D. Trump (through NRA). A decent person,” he tweeted, according to NPR’s translation.
Tweets from Torshin, a lifetime NRA member, also document that he has met with every NRA president since 2012. He also 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.
McClatchy reported in January that the FBI was looking into whether Torshin illegally gave money to the NRA to try to back Trump’s presidential bid.
Torshin also reportedly spoke with Donald Trump Jr. at an NRA event in May 2016, but the two did not discuss Trump's presidential campaign. The pair spoke for a few minutes, CBS reported at the time.
Trump Jr.'s lawyer confirmed the interaction, saying Trump Jr. "was attending an NRA convention and having dinner when an acquaintance asked him to say hello to Torshin and made an introduction."
Rep. Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffHouse votes to hold Bannon in contempt of Congress The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Altria - Manchin heatedly dismisses rumors of leaving Democratic Party Bannon eyed as key link between White House, Jan. 6 riot MORE (Calif.), the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, which is investigating Russia's meddling in the 2016 election, told NPR that the panel should investigate any 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."
The NRA and Torshin did not comment for NPR's report.