The FBI is investigating whether a top Russian banker illegally funneled money to the National Rifle Association (NRA) to help President Trump win the White House, according to McClatchy.
McClatchy on Thursday reported that two sources familiar with the probe said Alexander Torshin is the deputy governor of Russia’s central bank.
The sources added that Torshin is known for his close ties with both the NRA and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The NRA reported spending a record $55 million during the 2016 presidential race, including $30 million to boost Trump.
Most of that total was spent by an arm of the NRA that is not required to publicly disclose its donors.
Two people with close connections to the gun rights group said its total election spending that year actually approached or exceeded $70 million.
The gap can be explained by the fact that independent groups are not mandated to reveal how much they spend on internet ads or field operations, including get-out-the vote efforts.
Trump was a vocal advocate for the Second Amendment right to bear arms during battle for the Oval Office he ultimately won against Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
Thursday’s report comes as special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russia’s interference in the 2016 contest seemingly escalates.
Mueller’s probe includes potential collusion between Russia and Trump’s campaign, a charge the president has repeatedly denied.
Trump has frequently labeled Mueller’s efforts a “witch hunt” aimed at discrediting him and his administration.
The New York Times on Tuesday reported that Mueller subpoenaed former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon last week.
Multiple outlets on Wednesday reported that Bannon plans on cooperating with Mueller’s team of investigators when he is questioned.
Trump publicly disavowed Bannon earlier this month after the latter was quoted criticizing members of the president’s family in author Michael Wolff’s new book.