Appearing on MSNBC on Saturday afternoon, the former U.S. Ambassador to Russia was asked about confessed Russian agent Maria Butina's actions and what exactly she was after that led to her arrest.
According to Michael McFaul, who served during President Barack Obama's administration, Butina's task was to get as close to Donald Trump as possible to set up "back channel" communications -- and that she saw the NRA as the easiest pathway.
"She believed she was trying to meet people that may be close to a future president in the Republican circles," McFaul explained. "The NRA is a logical choice there and she had success."
"Americans traveled to Russia, she attended these meetings," he continued. "She was close to senior people on the Russian side, including [ Russian politician] Aleksandr Torshin, a person I used to work with when I was in the government."
"Nobody knows where he is today by the way," McFaul said with a knowing smile. "Back then he was in the Putin circles. This idea of a back channel and influence and contacts is something I've seen when other Russian delegations had the same mandate."
You can watch the video below via MSNBC: