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Vodka toasts and gun factory tours

Vodka toasts and gun factory tours

by digby



Sure this is perfectly normal:

Several prominent Russians, some in President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle or high in the Russian Orthodox Church, now have been identified as having contact with National Rifle Association officials during the 2016 U.S. election campaign, according to photographs and an NRA source.

The contacts have emerged amid a deepening Justice Department investigation into whether Russian banker and lifetime NRA member Alexander Torshin illegally channeled money through the gun rights group to add financial firepower to Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential bid.

Other influential Russians who met with NRA representatives during the campaign include Dmitry Rogozin, who until last month served as a deputy prime minister overseeing Russia’s defense industry, and Sergei Rudov, head of one of Russia’s largest philanthropies, the St. Basil the Great Charitable Foundation. The foundation was launched by an ultra-nationalist ally of Russian President Putin.

The Russians talked and dined with NRA representatives, mainly in Moscow, as U.S. presidential candidates vied for the White House. Now U.S. investigators want to know if relationships between the Russian leaders and the nation’s largest gun rights group went beyond vodka toasts and gun factory tours, evolving into another facet of the Kremlin’s broad election-interference operation.

Even as the contacts took place, Kremlin cyber operatives were secretly hacking top Democrats’ emails and barraging Americans’ social media accounts with fake news stories aimed at damaging the image of Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton and boosting the prospects of Republican Donald Trump.

It is a crime, potentially punishable with prison time, to donate or use foreign money in U.S. election campaigns.

McClatchy in January disclosed that Justice Department Special Counsel Robert Mueller was investigating whether Torshin or others engineered the flow of Russian monies to the NRA; the Senate Intelligence Committee is also looking into the matter, sources familiar with the probe have said. The sources spoke on condition of anonymity because the inquiries, which are part of sweeping, parallel investigations into Russia’s interference with the 2016 U.S. elections, have not been publicly announced.

NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam said, however, that the FBI has not contacted the group
Several prominent Russians, some in President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle or high in the Russian Orthodox Church, now have been identified as having contact with National Rifle Association officials during the 2016 U.S. election campaign, according to photographs and an NRA source.

The contacts have emerged amid a deepening Justice Department investigation into whether Russian banker and lifetime NRA member Alexander Torshin illegally channeled money through the gun rights group to add financial firepower to Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential bid.

Other influential Russians who met with NRA representatives during the campaign include Dmitry Rogozin, who until last month served as a deputy prime minister overseeing Russia’s defense industry, and Sergei Rudov, head of one of Russia’s largest philanthropies, the St. Basil the Great Charitable Foundation. The foundation was launched by an ultra-nationalist ally of Russian President Putin.

The Russians talked and dined with NRA representatives, mainly in Moscow, as U.S. presidential candidates vied for the White House. Now U.S. investigators want to know if relationships between the Russian leaders and the nation’s largest gun rights group went beyond vodka toasts and gun factory tours, evolving into another facet of the Kremlin’s broad election-interference operation.

Even as the contacts took place, Kremlin cyber operatives were secretly hacking top Democrats’ emails and barraging Americans’ social media accounts with fake news stories aimed at damaging the image of Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton and boosting the prospects of Republican Donald Trump.

It is a crime, potentially punishable with prison time, to donate or use foreign money in U.S. election campaigns.

McClatchy in January disclosed that Justice Department Special Counsel Robert Mueller was investigating whether Torshin or others engineered the flow of Russian monies to the NRA; the Senate Intelligence Committee is also looking into the matter, sources familiar with the probe have said. The sources spoke on condition of anonymity because the inquiries, which are part of sweeping, parallel investigations into Russia’s interference with the 2016 U.S. elections, have not been publicly announced.

NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam said, however, that the FBI has not contacted the group.


It might make sense that Putin and his pals enjoy the NRA's company because are all just like-minded freedom lovers who believe in the right to bear arms. Except for this:

Russian citizens over 18 years of age can obtain a firearms licence after attending gun-safety classes and passing a federal test and background check. The licence is for five years and may be renewed. Firearms may be acquired for self-defense, hunting, or sports activities. Carrying permits may be issued for hunting firearms licensed for hunting purposes. Initially, purchase is limited to smooth-bore long-barred firearms and pneumatic weapons with a muzzle energy of up to 25 joules (18 ft⋅lbf). After five years of shotgun ownership, rifles may be purchased. Handguns are generally not allowed. Rifles and shotguns with barrels less than 500 mm (20 in) long are prohibited, as are firearms that shoot in bursts and have more than a 10-cartridge capacity. Suppressors are prohibited. An individual cannot possess more than ten guns (up to five shotguns and up to five rifles) unless they are part of a registered gun collection

That sounds like some commie pinko infringement on out God given right ... oh wait.