MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow pointed out Wednesday that the links between the National Rifle Association, Donald Trump and Russia may be deeper than previously thought.
The host pointed out that on the exact day last July that Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin had their “super sketchy” off-the-record conversation in Helsinki, Finland last July, a Russian national named Maria Butina was being charged in Washington, D.C. for being a foreign agent of her home country.
Butina, Maddow noted, presented herself as a “leading light” of a supposed Russian gun rights movement — but is a member of the political party led by Putin, who does not support the right of Russian to bear arms.
Furthermore, the host added, the Russian “gun rights advocate” and her group was addressed by Trump’s national security adviser John Bolton — who was with the president at the Helsinki summit.
The U.S. government claimed in its indictment of Butina that she was attempting to infiltrate the U.S. conservative movement and the NRA specifically. Butina, the host added, has since pleaded guilty to those charges.
Maddow noted that Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), the new chairman of the House Oversight Committee, has asked White House lawyers for information about whether Bolton “disclosed his previous contacts and work with Maria Butina” when he joined the Trump administration.
Cummings has also written directly to the NRA about Bolton’s foreign trips and contacts, the host added.
Regardless of whether the White House and the NRA respond or force the House Oversight chair’s hand and make him subpoena them, Maddow mused, “it’s probably going to be interesting, right?”
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Iran probes seized UK-flagged tanker — Britain to hold emergency meeting
ran warned Sunday that the fate of a UK-flagged tanker it seized in the Gulf depends on an investigation, as Britain prepared for an emergency security meeting on Tehran's action.
Iranian authorities impounded the Stena Impero with 23 crew members aboard off the port of Bandar Abbas after the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps seized it Friday in the highly sensitive Strait of Hormuz.
Video footage released by Iran showed the Stena Impero tanker being surrounded by speedboats before troops in balaclavas descend a rope from a helicopter onto the vessel.
In an audio recording of a radio exchange, an Iranian officer can be heard ordering the tanker to change course "immediately".
For Cubans — a day at the beach is no easy task
Cuba's constitution guarantees its people access to its beaches, but many locals are unable to enjoy the island's pristine white sands and crystal clear blue waters.
While foreign tourists flock to such paradisiacal Havana sites as Varadero, which was this year named the second most-beautiful beach in the world by American travel website TripAdvisor, Cubans are typically found elsewhere.
"Not many tourists come here," said 43-year-old Rey Gonzalez, who was enjoying a day at Guanabo, a beach east of the capital.
Guanabo's sand isn't as white and the water not quite as clear as Varadero's, but that mattered little to Gonzalez, who was there with his family.