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Mon Feb 11, 2019, 11:23 PM

How He Hurt the Gun Lobby

By The Editorial Board
Feb. 11, 2019

... this Wednesday, the House Judiciary Committee will move to advance legislation requiring background checks on all firearm sales. The killer in the Parkland, Fla., school massacre passed such a check, but this measure would close a loophole exploited by other killers that exempts unlicensed gun sellers from conducting background checks. Support for such a change is overwhelmingly popular, even among gun owners. The bill has an excellent chance of passing the Democrat-led House. Its prospects in the Senate, controlled by the Republican majority leader, Mitch McConnell, are bleak ...

... As part of the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, the special counsel, Robert Mueller, has been exploring possible ties between the N.R.A. and Russia. Among Mr. Mueller’s top concerns is reportedly whether Russian interests funneled money to the Trump campaign via the N.R.A. — and, if so, to what degree the group’s leaders may have known what was happening.

In addition to Mr. Mueller’s interest in the N.R.A., there have been multiple congressional inquiries into a possible love triangle among the gun group, Team Trump and Russia. With Democrats now in charge of the House, expect the scrutiny to get more intense. Representative Adam Schiff, the new head of the Intelligence Committee, has said that under Republican leadership the committee did not delve deeply enough into the muck. “We were really not able to determine how the Russians used the N.R.A. as a back channel or look into allegations that the Russians may have funneled money through the N.R.A. to influence the election,” Mr. Schiff recently told The Times. “Those issues remain of deep interest to us.”

Beyond any legal missteps that may be uncovered, revelations that the N.R.A. was snuggling up to Russian officials and intimates of President Vladimir Putin already have proved a public-relations nightmare. Particularly embarrassing is the bizarre case of Maria Butina, the Russian graduate student who pleaded guilty in December to working as a foreign agent and who conspired to infiltrate the N.R.A. and the Republican Party in order to help Russia influence American politics ...


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