A member of the National Rifle Association emailed a Trump campaign adviser last year, saying he could arrange a backchannel meeting with Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
NRA member Paul Erickson wrote to Rick Dearborn of the Trump campaign that Russia was “quietly but actively seeking a dialogue with the U.S.” and the country would try to use the NRA’s annual conference to make “first contact,” the New York Times reported Sunday.
“Putin is deadly serious about building a good relationship with Mr. Trump,” Erickson’s email said. “He wants to extend an invitation to Mr. Trump to visit him in the Kremlin before the election. Let’s talk through what has transpired and Senator Sessions’s advice on how to proceed.”
The New York Times said it’s not clear how Dearborn responded to the email, which was provided to Congress as part of its investigation into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election.
Dearborn also sent a similar request from another conservative activist to Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner. Two individuals who viewed Kushner’s emails said he rejected the proposal at the time.
The outreach came weeks after George Papadopoulos, a former foreign policy adviser to Trump, made contact with a professor with deep ties to Russia who promised “dirt” on Hillary Clinton.
It also came around the same time Donald Trump Jr. set up a meeting at Trump Tower with a Russian lawyer who said she had damaging information about Clinton.