FBI Investigating Claims That Russia Fed the NRA Money to Help Trump Campaign

The seemingly endless investigation into Trump's campaign and Russia's potential involvement has taken another not so surprising turn. Now the FBI is investigating a claim that Russia was illegally giving money to Trump's campaign through the National Rifle Association, according to McClatchy.

The NRA's support of Trump's campaign during the 2016 election was no secret. The organization spent $30 million to support the vile candidate. The new report cites two sources close to the situation who claim the deputy governor of Russia's central bank and lifetime NRA member Alexander Torshin was illegally funneling money throughout the campaign. According to the sources, Torshin is known to have close relationships with NRA, as well as Russian president Vladimir Putin. Of the $30 million spent backing Trump, most of it was spent by an arm of the NRA that is not required to reveal its donors. Another red flag. 

Both sources cited by McClatchy also claim that despite the reports of $30 million being spent, it was more like $70 million spent. The difference in reports is due to the fact that not all funds, such as online ads, by the non-profit have to be reported due to certain loopholes in the system. 

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This is not the first accusation that has been made against Torshin by a foreign government. In 2016, Spanish officials accused the then–Russian senator of helping mobsters run a money laundering effort through Spanish banks and properties. Reports involving this accusation claim Torshin was considered a “godfather in a major Russian criminal organization called Taganskaya.”

Torshin's troubles could only just be beginning. Democratic members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, the House, and the Senate Intelligence Committee have all inquired about his various activities in the United States. Sen. Diane Feinstein has also sent letters to two of Trump's top campaign aides asking about Torshin. 

While these sources did provide info about the investigation, there is no word of how long the relationship between Torshin and the NRA has been scrutinized. The new claim just adds another wrinkle to Special Counsel Robert Mueller's ongoing investigation into Trump's ties with Russia. On Wednesday, Trump's lawyer Ty Cobb simply told CBS News he is “very eager” to speak with Mueller to “put the matter to rest.”

I'm sure he is. As the investigation continuously heightens, it seems like it's only a matter of time before even more severe allegations from this connection make their way to the headlines.

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Former NBA Player Lorenzen Wright’s Ex-Wife Arrested for his Murder

Police in Riverside County, California, arrested Sherra Wright-Robinson Friday night on a warrant in connection to the 2010 killing of her ex-husband, former NBA player Lorenzen Wright. An ESPN report confirms Sherra Wright-Robinson has been charged with first-degree murder.

Wright’s decomposing, bullet riddled body was found in a Memphis suburb in July of 2010. The then-34-year-old had been reported missing 10 days before authorities found his corpse, and until recently, the seven-year investigation remained an unsolved, high profile case.

“We looked through this case and we did one thing, we followed the evidence and the evidence led us to Billy Turner and Sherra Wright-Robinson,” Memphis Police Major Darren Goods told the Memphis Commercial Appeal. “We wanted to investigate it as if it had just happened. We went to the crime scene and walked in Lorenzen’s final steps.”

That process led to several recent revelations in a case many expected would turn cold. On November 9, an FBI dive team recovered a gun used in Wright’s murder from a lake in Walnut, Mississippi. 

Things developed quickly from there, as December 12 brought the indictment of Billy R. Turner on first-degree murder charges related to Wright’s killing. Turner, a landscaper and resident of the Memphis suburb of Collierville, has pleaded not guilty.

Saturday brought the bombshell that Wright’s ex-wife was a suspect in his murder after also being charged with first-degree murder. 

“The attempted murder charge is about a prior attempt to kill Lorenzen Wright, officials confirmed,” noted Katie Fretland, Yolanda Jones and Marc Perrusquia in the Commercial Appeal report. “They said Sherra and Billy Turner previously tried to kill Wright.”

Sports Illustrated has since published portions of a previously unreleased video interview with Sherra Wright. In the clip, Wright-Robinson is directly asked if she had any involvement with her late husband’s killing and seems to avoid the question entirely. You can view the video below.

“I’m first a wife,” Wright-Robinson answered. “Then I’m a mother. And then thirdly, I’m an author. The law enforcement should do what’s best to find who’s the killer.”

Authorities have confirmed they believe Sherra Wright-Robinson and Turner knew each other, while the Commercial Appeal reports the pair attended the same church.

After starring at the University of Memphis, Wright was drafted by the Los Angeles Clippers prior to the 1996-1997 season. He played for the Memphis Grizzlies and four other NBA teams, primarily as a forward and center, over 13 seasons before retiring in 2009. 

According to an affidavit obtained by the Commercial Appeal, Sherra Wright-Robinson told police she saw Lorenzen leave her home carrying money and a box of drugs on July 18, 2010. His body was found 10 days later.

The Commercial Appeal further reports Wright-Robinson received $1 million from a life insurance policy upon Lorenzen Wright’s death. She agreed to a settlement in 2014 after a court dispute over how she spent the settlement money, which the Wrigh family argued was not spent with the intention of benefiting Sherra and Lorenzen's six children.

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Did Trump Just Admit to Obstruction of Justice?

Donald Trump’s latest tweet has sparked more allegations of obstruction of justice.

On Saturday, POTUS took to the social media platform to defend Gen. Michael Flynn, the former national security adviser who pleaded guilty Friday to lying to the FBI about his contacts with former Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak.

“I had to fire General Flynn because he lied to the Vice President and the FBI,” the president tweeted. “He has pled guilty to those lies. It is a shame because his actions during the transition were lawful. There was nothing to hide!”

Many politicians and political commentators said they believe this single tweet was an admission to obstruction of justice. You see: Flynn was forced to resign as national security adviser back in February; Trump’s most recent tweet implies he was aware the general had lied to federal authorities in the month prior. So if Trump knew about Flynn’s crime, why would he allegedly ask former FBI director James Comey to drop the investigation of Flynn shortly after he was ousted? During a testimony back in June, Comey told Congress the president asked him to consider “letting Flynn go.”

Trump fired Comey in May.  

As he was departing from the White House on Saturday morning, several reporters asked Trump about his thoughts on Flynn’s recent guilty plea. The president suggested he was not worried, and instead focused on the passing of the GOP tax bill.

“No, I’m not. And what has been shown is no collusion, no collusion,” Trump said. “There’s been absolutely no collusion so we’re very happy, and frankly last night was one of the big nights.”  

 

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Donald Trump Defends Putin Amid Election Probe: ‘He Did Not Meddle’

While Special counsel Robert Mueller and a congressional committee continue to investigate Russian efforts to influence the 2016 election on Donald Trump’s behalf, the President is repeating a familiar refrain. He’s defending his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin. Trump and Putin’s latest meeting was reportedly limited to the two leaders sharing some informal talks at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meetings in Vietnam.

“He said he didn’t meddle,” Trump told a group of reporters while in Vietnam Saturday. “You can only ask him so many times … He said he absolutely did not meddle in our election. He did not do what they are saying he did.”

In this case, the “they” Trump is referring to would be the FBI and the CIA and both agencies collective assessment that Russia interfered with the 2016 Presidential Election in order to help Trump win. The former reality show host lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton, but still won the 304 Electoral College votes necessary to become the 45th President. While Trump tours Asia, probes are being conducted on possible collusion between various Trump associates and Russian operatives.

The topic of Trump and Putin’s ongoing bromance came up after the Kremlin released an official statement saying the two presidents “confirmed their determination to defeat ISIS (the Islamic State) in Syria.”

According to David Jackson of USA Today, when pressed further about allegations of Putin influencing the election, Trump responded by saying, “Well, look, I can’t stand there and argue with him. I would rather have him get out of Syria.”

After dropping that diplomatic gem, Trump was summarily flamed on Twitter.

Your Saturday morning headline essentially boils down to the man who penned The Art of the Deal, struggling to make an actual deal with someone who allegedly helped him rig an election he barely won. Putin has been accused of war crimes including the alleged 1999 Russian apartment bombings that ignited the Second Chechen War. So if you add in the layer of Putin potentially helping Trump diffuse the Syrian conflict, you end up with a storyline that sounds as if it were copied and pasted from The Onion.

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8 People Dead in Manhattan Terrorism Incident (UPDATE)

UPDATED October 31 9:20 p.m. ET: ​29-year-old Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov of Tampa, Florida has been identified as the attacker. NBC is reporting law enforcment sources as saying Saipov left a note in the rented vehicle​ in which he writes that he commited the attacks for ISIS. 

Read the original story below.

Eight people were killed in a terrorist event in downtown Manhattan Tuesday afternoon, and more were injured. The incident occurred when a truck ran onto a narrow bicycle path, hitting numerous people along the way.

The NYPD held a press briefing alongside Mayor DeBlasio. They confirmed that the driver  struck a number of pedestrians and bikers before hitting a schoolbus. The suspect, a 29-year-old male driving a rental truck, then exited the vehicle holding a gun, and was shot by an officer and taken to a hospital. A paintball gun and a pellet gun were recovered from the scene, police said. No other suspects are outstanding.

Eight fatalities were confirmed by the NYPD, with several more people suffering life-threatening injuries. The driver made a “statement,” which was “Allahu Akbar!” according to some eyewitnesses. This, according to the press briefing, was confirmation that the incident was “a terrorist event.” The FBI has been brought into the case.

Social media reports of the incident started popping up around 3:00 p.m. local time.

Roughly 90 minutes after early reports of the incident, the NYPD confirmed that a vehicle had entered a pedestrian/bike path, resulting in “several fatalities” and numerous injuries before crashing into the bus.

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Trump’s Release of Classified JFK Documents Means He’s Attended at Least One White House Briefing

When you elect a former reality show host with no previous governing experience to the highest public office in the country, it’s very likely that person will repeatedly misinterpret public policies. So if you woke up Saturday wondering when and how one Donald J. Trump would manage to fail up while tweeting from a golf course, the answer came in the form of a tweet about the 35th President, John F. Kennedy.

“Subject to the receipt of further information, I will be allowing, as President, the long blocked and classified JFK FILES to be opened,” Trump tweeted Saturday morning.

Technically, Trump was correct here, although he won’t need to release the JFK files so much as just not overtly block them from being publicly disclosed—as they would have anyway next Thursday. The JFK Assassination Records Collection Act of 1992—enacted on October 26, 1992—states the following:

“Each assassination record shall be publicly disclosed in full, and available in the Collection no later than the date that is 25 years after the date of the enactment of this Act, unless the President certifies, as required by this Act, that 

(i) continued postponement is made necessary by an identifiable harm to military defense, intelligence operations, law enforcement or conduct of foreign relations; and

(ii) the identifiable harm is of such gravity that it outweighs the public interest in disclosure.”

The 1963 assassination of President Kennedy has remained a source of fascination for history buffs and conspiracy theorists alike for over half a century. Furthermore, most of the CIA and FBI documents about JFK have already been released either in their full form or partially redacted. Essentially, all Trump had to do here was get out of his own way and focus on more pressing matters such as aiding hurricane-battered Puerto Rico or not sub-tweeting an equally moronic dictator with access to nuclear launch codes.

But Trump is going to Trump, so what seems like an inevitable bit of governmental minutiae can still prove entertaining. The Washington Post reports that according to an unnamed National Security Council official, “government agencies were urging the president not to release some of the documents.” If that’s true, then Trump has actually attended at least one White House briefing and doesn’t get all of his updates from Fox News. The same report noted that Trump’s confidant Roger Stone bragged about lobbying the president to release the files during an appearance on Alex Jones’ Infowars.

This would be the time where we collectively hang our head in shame that a sitting president hangs out with white nationalists and has friends who brag about being guests on Infowars.

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Hillary Clinton: ‘As an Active Politician, It’s Over’

If the sobering reality of having a middling reality show contestant with a bad comb-over who appears to shrug off white supremacy as your President has made the last eight months difficult, you’re not alone.

“I just felt this enormous letdown—this kind of loss of feeling and direction and sadness,” Hillary Clinton revealed in a CBS This Morning interview with Jane Pauley released Sunday. “Off I went into a frenzy of closet cleaning, long walks in the woods, playing with my dogs, and yoga…”

That doesn’t mean winning the popular vote while the Electoral College opted for Donald Trump has the former First Lady, senator, and Secretary of State eyeing another Presidential run in 2020 though.

When pressed by Pauley on the issue of her political career being over, Clinton was rather direct, during an exchange, which takes place at the 12:23 mark of the above video.

“Is your political career over?”

“Yes, as an active politician, it’s over.”

“You will never be a candidate in office…”

“No. I am done being a candidate, but I am not done with politics because I literally believe that our country’s future is at stake.”

The latter statement may explain recent comments made about Senator Bernie Sanders, and why Clinton has been increasingly candid when it comes to Trump.

During the 13-minute long clip CBS released Sunday, Clinton doubled down on some previous criticisms of Trump. Those criticisms appear to be particularly astute given the Trump’s initial response to the white-supremacist-sparked violence in Charlottesville, Virginia and a proposed travel ban on several predominately Muslim countries.

“Then his speech, which was a cry from the white nationalist gut,” Clinton said of Trump’s Inauguration speech. “What an opportunity to say, ‘I’m proud of my supporters, but I’m the President of all Americans. That’s not what we heard at all.”

Pauley’s entire session with Clinton is full of pull quotes ranging from her coping techniques after the election (Chardonnay and alternate nostril breathing were involved), as well as her thoughts on ousted FBI director James Comey and Russian hacking during the 2016 Presidential Election.

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Ice-T and Soledad O’Brien to Host Fox’s ‘Who Shot Biggie & Tupac?’

Friday, Fox announced an upcoming two-hour special to explore the deaths of slain rappers 2Pac Shakur and the Notorious B.I.G. Rapper, author, actor, and director Ice-T will co-host Who Shot Biggie & Tupac? along with Emmy Award-winning journalist and author Soledad O’Brien, as the show takes a deeper look into what amounted to cold cases during at least two police investigations and one FBI probe.

Shakur died on September 13, 1996 after being targeted in a drive-by shooting on the Las Vegas Strip. The Notorious B.I.G.—born Christopher Wallace—was similarly killed in a drive-by shooting in Los Angeles on March 9, 1997. The former friends and collaborators turned rivals remain linked some 20 years after both were killed.

Fox’s choice to cover the two iconic rappers is a curious one, given how Fox News correspondent Geraldo Rivera and other of Fox’s news pundits have previously criticized hip-hop music and culture.

“This is why I say that Hip Hop has done more damage to young African Americans than racism in recent years,” Rivera said, during a critique of Kendrick Lamar’s 2015 BET Awards performance.

The special will also reportedly feature what is being billed as the first on-air “reunion” between Lil’ Cease and E.D.I. Mean—one-time protégés of B.I.G. and Shakur as respective members of Junior M.A.F.I.A. and The Outlawz. Doug E. Fresh, Funkmaster Flex and Suge Knight are also set to appear.

Shakur’s case remains unsolved, with conspiracy theories abounding. In April of 2008, the Los Angeles Times retracted a story by Chuck Phillips insinuating Sean Combs orchestrated the 1994 Quad Studios attack on Shakur.

“The Times has since concluded that the FBI reports were fabricated and that some of the other sources relied on—including the person Philips previously believed to be the ‘confidential source’ cited in the FBI reports—do not support major elements of the story,” the retraction read.

Former LAPD captain Kevin McClure shut down a task force investigating B.I.G.’s murder in 2010 noting a lack of results.

“We kept pounding the doors on the same cold leads,” McClure told the Los Angeles Times in March. “The shooter is most likely dead. You cannot ask him who paid him. We don’t know who gave the money.”

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R. Kelly Says Cult Allegations Are ‘A Bunch of Crap’ and Plans to Continue Tour

For the first time, R. Kelly has personally addressed last week’s allegations that claim he is holding women in an “abusive cult” in his homes. In a short video posted to TMZ on Friday, the R&B singer speaks directly to the camera, ensuring fans that his three upcoming East Coast shows in Virginia Beach, VA, Baltimore, MD, and White Plains, NY are still on.

“I just want to let my fans know, despite all of the crap y'all hearing, I will be coming to the East Coast to do my show,” Kelly said. “And believe me y’all, it’s a bunch of crap.”

The allegations came as a result of a BuzzFeed News investigation published on July 17 that claimed R. Kelly is keeping multiple women in his home and controlling their every move, including their sex lives. R. Kelly’s lawyer released a statement on behalf of her client, which said “Mr. Robert Kelly is both alarmed and disturbed by the recent revelations attributed to him,” adding that he “will work diligently and forcibly to pursue his accusers and clear his name.”

More fuel was added to the fire when one of the women allegedly held against her will spoke to TMZ: Jocelyn Savage, 21, denied the accusations. “I’m not being brainwashed or anything like that,” Savage said. “I just want everybody to know—my parents and everybody in the world—that I am totally fine. I’m happy where I’m at, and everything is okay with me.” She also pleaded with her father, who was one of the main sources in the original BuzzFeed News report, to “stop embarrassing” her. But her father, Timothy, released a video of his own in response. He likened R. Kelly’s relationship to the women to slavery, and suggested that the FBI has been investigating the situation. He also claimed that some of the relationships in question began when the women were under the age of 18. 

As of now, R. Kelly seems to be more worried about ticket sales than going to jail. But considering how serious the claims against him are, there's no doubt we haven’t seen the last of this case.

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Leonardo DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese Are Reuniting for New Film

The film will be an adapation of the true-crime thriller ‘Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI’ by David Grann.