Jan 18, 2018

FBI investigating whether NRA used Russian money to help Trump

Image: Scott Olson / Getty Images

The FBI is investigating whether top Russian banker Alexander Torshin, who has close ties to the Kremlin, sent money to the NRA to help President Trump win the election, reports McClatchy.

Why it matters: The NRA spent $30 million to support Trump in 2016, triple what they spent on fellow Republican Mitt Romney in 2012. The sources of those donations were not disclosed, and two people told McClatchy that the gun lobby's actual election spend may have been closer to $70 million.

Torshin is a lifetime NRA member who has been described as a "godfather" in a Russian organized crime syndicate known as Taganskaya. In November, NBC News reported that Jared Kushner nixed a meeting between Torshin and the Trump campaign, though Kushner later failed to disclose the email exchange.

In May 2016, Torshin reportedly sat next to Donald Trump Jr. at a private dinner hosted by the NRA.

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Situational awareness

Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

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Trump has declared war on sanctuary cities

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Armed with subpoenas, lawsuits and immigration SWAT teams, the Trump administration has declared war on sanctuary cities.

The big picture: President Trump and his administration have used every available tool to try to crack down on local governments that refuse to hold immigrants in criminal custody, block immigration agents from working in county jails or deny federal authorities access to immigrants' records.

Peter Thiel's Founders Fund isn't really Peter Thiel's Founders Fund

Illustration: Photo Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photos: Charles Eshelman, Steve Jennings, and Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Founders Fund has raised $3 billion for a pair of new funds, so expect a slew of headlines about how "Peter Thiel's venture capital firm" is now flush with cash.

Behind the scenes: Thiel is essential to Founders Fund, but he's not autocratic. Instead, Axios has learned that he's one of three people with veto power over most FF investments, and is unable to do a deal without approval of the other two.