A former aide to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign has claimed that when he was interviewed by special counsel Robert Mueller’s team, he was asked about the campaign’s links with the National Rifle Association (NRA), according to CNN.
Sam Nunberg, who was a second-tier aide, worked with Roger Stone, who it is claimed was his mentor. His only real moment of public prominence up to this point was in March 2018 when he gave a series of interviews while allegedly under the influence of alcohol, in which he threatened to defy a Mueller subpoena.
Nunberg did eventually testify to Mueller and told CNN, “when I was interviewed by the special counsel’s office, I was asked about the Trump campaign and our dealings with the NRA.”
There have been previous reports suggesting that Mueller could be looking at links between the Trump campaign and the NRA, but Nunberg’s revelations are the clearest indication of this seen so far.
It is well known that the Trump campaign worked closely with the NRA from an early stage. Links were established in early 2015 with President Trump’s two sons Don Jr. and Eric believed to have initiated discussions.
Trump was formally endorsed by the NRA in May 2016, before his endorsement by the Republican Party. During the campaign, the NRA is thought to have donated at least $30 million toward Trump’s campaign. In return, Trump addressed NRA Annual Conventions and also spoke at the SHOT Show in Las Vegas – a trade show for gun manufacturers. At that event, he told delegates, “I will not let you down.”
Nunberg comments to CNN suggest that Mueller is interested in how these speeches were arranged and whether there was any foreign involvement in setting them up.
There is no suggestion that the NRA has been involved in any illegal activity, but there is proof that at least one Russian national attempted to infiltrate them in order to increase support for Donald Trump inside the organization.
Maria Butina from Russia has pleaded guilty in a federal court to charges that she conspired against the United States. She admitted that she had sought to build bridges with the NRA in order to try and influence the Republican Party in favor of Donald Trump.
Her instructions were reportedly given by Alexander Torshin, a former Russian banker with close ties to the Putin regime and a number of Russian oligarchs. CNN claims that Torshin met with Donald Trump Jr. at the NRA Convention in 2016.