A Key Russian Figure with Connections to Trump and the NRA Faces Sanctions

Alexander Torshin is also reportedly under investigation by the FBI.

Alexander Torshin Credit: Mario Ruiz/Epa/REX/Shutterstock, Mark Peterson/Redux

Alexander Torshin, the Russian government official Rolling Stone reports is central to a nearly decade-long influence campaign over the NRA, has been hit with sanctions by the United States Treasury Department. Torshin is a lifetime, voting member of the NRA, and the FBI is reportedly investigating whether he illegally funneled money through the organization with the intention to help the 2016 Trump campaign.

Torshin is among nearly three dozen Russian oligarchs, companies and government officials who were added to the sanctions list Friday by the Office of Foreign Assets Control. Torshin is now on the list by authority of an executive order signed in 2014 relating to Russia's annexation of Crimea and interference in Ukraine. According to the text of the executive order, these sanctions freeze any American-based or -linked assets Torshin may have and bans his travel to the United States. According to Treasury, "U.S. persons are generally prohibited from dealings" with the newly sanctioned individuals.

Steve Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, underscored the need for the expanded sanctions in a statement: "The Russian government engages in a range of malign activity around the globe, including continuing to occupy Crimea and instigate violence in eastern Ukraine... attempting to subvert Western democracies, and malicious cyber activities," Mnuchin said. "Russian oligarchs and elites who profit from this corrupt system will no longer be insulated from the consequences of their government's destabilizing activities."

As Rolling Stone's investigation reveals, Torshin has been an NRA member since at least 2010, cultivating deep ties to its leadership, including at the NRA's annual conventions and through NRA delegation visits to Moscow, most recently in December 2015. Through his NRA connections, Torshin sought to broker a meeting between candidate Trump and Vladimir Putin in 2016, later meeting with Donald Trump, Jr. at May 2016 NRA convention.