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Newly Discovered Email Just Implicated The NRA In Tump-Russia Collusion

In another extraordinary development in the Trump-Russia collusion investigation, the New York Times has reported that a conservative operative with close ties to the National Rifle Association and Russia was working with the Trump campaign last year to arrange a back-channel meeting between Donald J. Trump and Vladimir V. Putin, the Russian president.

The discovery was made in a May 2016 email sent to campaign adviser Rick Dearborn with the subject line “Kremlin Connection.” In it, the N.R.A. operative said he wanted the advice of Mr. Dearborn and Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama, then a foreign policy adviser to Mr. Trump and Mr. Dearborn’s longtime boss, about how to proceed in connecting the two leaders, according to the report.

As reported by The times:

Russia, he wrote, was “quietly but actively seeking a dialogue with the U.S.” and would attempt to use the N.R.A.’s annual convention in Louisville, Ky., to make “‘first contact.’” The email, which was among a trove of campaign-related documents turned over to investigators on Capitol Hill, was described in detail to The New York Times.

Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel investigating Russian interference in the election and possible collusion with the Trump campaign, secured a guilty plea on Friday from President Trump’s first national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn, for lying to the F.B.I. about contacts with Moscow’s former ambassador to the United States. But those contacts came after Mr. Trump’s improbable election victory.

The emailed outreach from the conservative operative to Mr. Dearborn came far earlier, around the same time that Russians were trying to make other connections to the Trump campaign. Another contact came through an American advocate for Christian and veterans causes, and together, the outreach shows how, as Mr. Trump closed in on the nomination, Russians were using three foundational pillars of the Republican Party — guns, veterans and Christian conservatives — to try to make contact with his campaign.

According to the report, both efforts were centered on the N.R.A.’s annual meeting and appear to involve Alexander Torshin, a deputy governor of the Russian central bank and key figure in Mr. Putin’s United Russia party, who was instructed to make contact with the campaign.

You can read the entire report here.

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