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Russian politician claims he knows Trump through NRA connections: report

Russian politician claims he knows Trump through NRA connections: report
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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 John TrumpThe Guardian slams Trump over comments about assault on reporter Five takeaways from the first North Dakota Senate debate Watchdog org: Tillerson used million in taxpayer funds to fly throughout US 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.

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“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 SchiffGOP targets likely Dem committee chairmen in midterm push GOP Rep to top-ranking Dem who accused him of bigotry: 'Apologize to my children' The Hill's Morning Report — Presented by the Coalition for Affordable Prescription Drugs — Trump travels to hurricane-ravaged Florida, Georgia 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.