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NRA now officially part of Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian election influence

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CNN is reporting special counsel Robert Mueller is now probing the relationship between Russia and the National Rifle Association (NRA).

The NRA got behind Trump very early in the game and was able to fundraise millions and millions more than they typically raise for elections, setting a record for the organization. Their haul was helped in part by a single donation of $19.2 million in 2016 from an undisclosed “individual.”

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“When I was interviewed by the special counsel’s office, I was asked about the Trump campaign and our dealings with the NRA,” former Trump aide Sam Nunberg told CNN.

“The special counsel’s team was curious to learn more about how Donald Trump and his operatives first formed a relationship with the NRA and how Trump wound up speaking at the group’s annual meeting in 2015, just months before announcing his presidential bid,” CNN cited what Nunberg told them.

Alleged Russian spy Maria Butina founded a pro-gun advocacy group that partnered with the NRA and other pro-gun advocates throughout the election. She pleaded guilty in December to conspiracy against the United States and admitted she attempted to infiltrate the Republican Party and GOP circles to have an impact on US-Russia relations. She also worked to build relationships with powerful influencers in the NRA.

Former American Ambassador to Russia, Michael McFaul, explained that the NRA was a very easy conduit to the GOP and to Trump.

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“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.”

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“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.”

Authoritarian expert Sarah Kendzior called the NRA — and Republicans general — “pathetic” for being duped.

“Its a pretty pathetic look for the NRA and the Republicans that they are, on the one hand, this easily manipulated, but also complicit,” Kendzior said. “There are voluntary participants in this. They are people who will be indicted themselves for failing to register as foreign agents.”

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The U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee has already asked the NRA to turn over key documents.

Former NRA President Wayne Lapierre resigned his position before the stories began to break about the NRA’s connections to Russia.

The NRA continues to refuse to comment on any of the investigations or allegations, which prompted MSNBC host Rachel Maddow to rip them to shreds.

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The story is developing…

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



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Psychoanalyst Justin Frank on why Trump ‘hates reality’ and must be ‘quarantined’

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Donald Trump is a living, breathing national emergency. Our president has repeatedly encouraged violence against his perceived enemies — and at least some of his supporters are following his lead. These are not isolated incidents. There are dozens of court cases where Donald Trump has been cited for "inspiring" acts of violence and other crimes. There are also the most odious examples such as the recent white supremacist terror attack in El Paso in which the alleged mass murderer wrote an online "manifesto" that almost verbatim channeled Trump's threatening rhetoric towards nonwhite people.

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Like a fox — how a TV news channel is tearing America apart

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A little over 20 years ago, Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes concocted a profitable way to tap into the white supremacist ideology still bubbling below America’s surface.

They started a “news” network that, instead of providing actual news, gave white, conservative viewers the news they wanted to hear: that they, their families, and their values were under attack by minorities, gays, women, liberals, socialists, Muslims, atheists, the media, etc. — and therefore their biases were justified.

It’s been a lucrative strategy. However, just making a buck wasn’t enough for them. They also wanted to shape the fortunes of the country they were dividing. Here, too, they had tremendous success.

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Is Trump’s love affair with Fox News fading?

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Last month after Donald Trump watched Fox News lob what he called "softball questions" at a Democratic lawmaker, the US president delivered a crisp smackdown of his favorite network: "Fox sure ain't what it used to be."

After years of often fawning coverage by Fox, particularly from its pro-Trump anchors like Sean Hannity, the commander in chief appears to be tilting his media gaze toward a younger, more right-wing rival, cable outfit One America News Network (OANN).

The small upstart broadcaster was launched only recently, in 2013, by technology millionaire Robert Herring, who sought a more conservative alternative to mainstream media behemoths like CNN.

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