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We don't want to sound alarmist and assume this story is WHOA SIGNIFICANT, just because it includes people who love Donald Trump somuchtoomuchOMG! hanging around in Moscow with Russian government officials generally known as bad dudes, and who are currently subject to U.S. sanctions. We also don't want to assume that just because this particular group of Trump creeps -- an NRA delegation including that weird fucking psycho-fascist Milwaukee Sheriff David Clarke -- happened to go to Moscow the very same week in December of 2015 as that sexxxy event where disgraced former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn dined with Vladimir Putin and also known dickwit Jill Stein at a gala for the state-run RT network, means they are all pals and part of a #scandal together. We are NOT SAYING these people all had secret slumber parties and braided each other's hair and a few of them stayed up really late and had premarital sex, all while fantasizing about what Trump and Putin look like nekkid. WE ARE NOT SAYING THAT, so don't accuse us of it.

So this troupe, put together by the NRA, went in December of 2015 to meet with a dude named Dmitry Rogozin, whom the Daily Beast calls "a hardline deputy to Vladimir Putin, the head of Russia’s defense industry and longtime opponent of American power." He hates America so much he used to run a crazy right-wing political party called Rodina, or "Motherland," that believes the Russian Empire should rise again, even the "Alaska" part where Sarah Palin right this minute is sautéing a fresh slice of moose. When Russia invaded Crimea and got all sanctioned up by the Americans, Rogozin was on the sanctions list.

Here's what the NRA says this meeting was all about:

“Rogozin is chairman of the Russian Shooting Federation and his Board hosted a tour of Federation HQ for us while we were there,” [former NRA president David] Keene told The Daily Beast. “It was non-political. There were at least 30 in attendance and our interaction consisted of thanking him and his Board for the tour.”

[wonkbar]<a href="http://www.wonkette.com/613745/has-anyone-donald-trump-knows-not-shared-a-romantic-hot-tub-with-the-russian-ambassador-your-crazy-russia-roundup"></a>[/wonkbar]Maybe so! But as the Daily Beast notes, the U.S. sanctions ban Russian guns from being sold in America, and the NRA has been GRRR ARGH about that, so it's weird that it didn't come up, yeah? Just like it would be weird for Attorney General Jeff Sessions NOT to discuss the Trump campaign with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak the very same week America was publicly accusing Russia of interfering in our election. Just, like, huh! Anyway, these are all Chatty Cathy sorts, so we assume they just talked about boys and cars and not the Russian Bear in the room, eating American democracy.

The Daily Beast talked to a feller named Boris Zilberman, an "expert on Russian sanctions," who said it wouldn't be illegal for this meeting to happen, just that it's "frowned upon and raises questions." Questions like "WTF?" and "HUH?"

Apparently it's "frowned upon and raises questions" enough that Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee are, in fact, like "WTF?" and "HUH?"

“It is disconcerting that they would be meeting [with a Russian official] about anything given their vocal support of the president,” said Rep. Mike Quigley, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, which is investigating Russia’s attempts to influence the 2016 presidential elections. “Due to the NRA’s opposition to sanctions, it defies credulity that they wouldn’t have discussed sanctions and their extraordinary support for Donald Trump’s campaign.”

“Russia is not America’s friend. And it’s stunning to hear that while they were attacking our democracy, one of the largest organizations supporting Trump was cozying up with a sanctioned Russian in Moscow,” said Rep. Eric Swalwell, who is the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee panel that oversees the CIA.

[wonkbar]<a href="http://www.wonkette.com/608670/its-gonna-be-a-dead-baby-in-the-jail-kind-of-day"></a>[/wonkbar]Quigley is right about the NRA's "vocal support" of Trump. They endorsed him WAY back in May of 2016, before he was even the GOP nominee, and they gave him literal metric fucktons of money. And good old Sheriff David Clarke -- you know, the shithead who always has people dying in his jails (one time it was a baby) and who got victimized at the Women's March when somebody looked at him funny -- he loves Trump an awful lot too! He was reportedly considered for a Trump cabinet appointment, but that didn't happen, but maybe they'll find a place for him yet!

According to Clarke's financial disclosure form (he was the only one who had to file such a petty thing), about a third of his expenses for the Russia trip were bankrolled by a Russian gun-humper group called The Right To Bear Arms, created by a Russian lady named Maria Butina, who lives in DC now. (The other two-thirds came from Pete Brownell, an NRA board member.) Butina seems cool! She worked for the Trump campaign, and she used to work for this creepazoid Russian FSB guy named Alexander Torshin, who is probably a criminal tied to the Russian mob. (Butina and Torshin are both big NRA people too! Weird, huh!) Even more fun that that, Butina has reportedly said out loud on a number of occasions, including to her study buddies at American University (she's in grad school there), that she was a big part of the connection between the Trump campaign and their pals in Russia. She seems just GREAT. Seriously, read more about her here, because she is obsessed with guns, and she is probably a Russian spy, we are just guessing, just like Daily Kos is just guessing.

Did this possible Russian spy lady's group help pay for the WHOLE delegation to Moscow? Dunno, because LIKE WE SAID, only Sheriff Clarke had to disclose such petty things.

How many members of Team Trump are actually Russian spies HAHAHAHAHAHA ISN'T THAT THE QUESTION OF THE CENTURY?

Anyway, like we said, this could all be one big silly co-winky-dink mix-up, and all these characters who helped get Donald Trump elected just happened to be in Moscow at the same time, for innocent reasons. It is probably that. Nothing to see here, nobody here but us chickens!

OR MAYBE THEY ARE ANOTHER PIECE OF THE SCANDAL!

Wonkette is entirely reader-supported, so give us money for poring over these news reports and trying to make sense of them.

[The Daily Beast]

Evan Hurst

Evan Hurst is the senior editor of Wonkette, which means he is the boss of you, unless you are Rebecca, who is boss of him. His dog Lula is judging you right now.

Follow him on Twitter RIGHT HERE.

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