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?”