Glenn Simpson, co-founder of the firm behind the infamous dossier on President Donald Trump’s potential connections to Russia, told Congress that he believes the Russian government has “infiltrated” the National Rifle Association.
“It appears the Russians, you know, infiltrated the NRA,” Fusion GPS co-founder Simpson said while testifying before the House Intelligence Committee on Nov. 14. His testimony was part of a federal investigation into potential links between the Kremlin and Trump’s 2016 campaign associates.
“And there is more than one explanation for why,” he added. “But I would say, broadly speaking, it appears that the Russian operation was designed to infiltrate conservative organizations. ... They seem to have made a very concerted effort to get in with the NRA.”
The House committee voted Thursday to release the testimony. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) last week released a testimony Simpson made before the Senate Judiciary Committee in August.
McClatchy reported earlier on Thursday that the FBI was investigating whether a top Russian bank with ties to the Kremlin had funneled money to Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign through the NRA. Alexander Torshin, the deputy governor of Russia’s central bank and a former member of the Russian parliament, was reportedly behind the scheme, according to the publication.
It is illegal for a foreign national to make contributions to any election campaign of a U.S. candidate per the Federal Election Campaign Act.
While testifying in front of the House committee, Simpson described Torshin as “a Russian banker-slash-Duma member-slash-Mafia leader” and “life member of the NRA.” He also hinted at a possible connection between Torshin, one of his associates and the Trump transition team.
“I guess the last thing I will say on this is that we just started seeing this stuff when all the other Russia stuff started bubbling up,” Simpson said. “And the thing I found, you know, the most absurd about this is that, you know, [Russian President] Vladimir Putin is not in favor of universal gun ownership for Russians. And so it’s all a big charade, basically.”
The NRA broke its own campaign spending record in 2016 when the organization donated $30.3 million to Trump’s presidential campaign.
The NRA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Read Simpson’s full testimony before the House Intelligence Committee:
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.