Mueller looking into Trump campaign ties to NRA as part of Russia probe
Special counsel Robert Mueller is probing the Trump campaign’s “dealings” with the National Rifle Association as part of his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, a person familiar with the matter said Tuesday.
Mueller’s investigators asked former Trump aide Sam Nunberg about the campaign’s relationship with the NRA when they interviewed him in February 2018, the source told The New York Daily News.
The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, declined to elaborate on the specifics of the questions or whether names of any particular NRA officials came up over the course of Nunberg’s interview.
The special counsel’s office declined to comment, as did Nunberg. NRA spokespeople did not return requests for comment.
CNN, which first reported Mueller’s NRA questions to Nunberg, also reported the special counsel as recently as a month ago expressed interest in the powerful gun lobby, which has come under intense scrutiny for its ties to Russian nationals, including confessed Kremlin spy Maria Butina.
The NRA dished out millions of dollars on Trump’s campaign, and Mueller is reportedly interested in whether the Kremlin tried to funnel money through the gun lobby as part of its pro-Trump attack on the 2016 election.
Alexander Torshin, a senior Russian government official who was sanctioned by the U.S. government for his role in the Kremlin’s election meddling, is a lifetime member of the NRA and supervised Butina in her covert plot to infiltrate conservative groups in the U.S., according to court papers.
President Donald Trump was no asked about the NRA in the written questions submitted by Mueller’s team, according to a person familiar with the matter.
Rudy Giuliani, a key Trump attorney in the Mueller investigation, said he had never heard of Mueller being interested in any connections between Trump and the NRA.
“The only thing I know about the NRA is that they supported the president during the campaign,” Giuliani told the Daily News.
Everytown for Gun Safety, a pro-gun control organization and NRA foe, welcome Mueller’s interest in the influential gun group.
“Between the Mueller investigation and Maria Butina pleading guilty to conspiracy after using the NRA to advance the Kremlin’s agenda, we may finally start getting answers,” said John Feinblatt, the president of Everytown.