The NRA has been forging ties to the Israeli security state for years now. In 2013, Trump’s former National Security Adviser, John Bolton, joined a delegation of 30 in Jerusalem for a 10-day tour of Israel’s police institutions. The honorary NRA member stated on that occasion, that Israel could “serve as a model for American security.” The legend of Maria Butina, itself, was seeded in Israel that same year when an “obscure” Israeli gun-rights group posted on Facebook that she had announced to have signed a cooperation agreement with the NRA and “neighboring countries” to promote gun rights at a meeting with its members.
Butina would meet with Erickson and Keene two weeks later in Moscow, along with Alexander Torshin, former deputy governor of Russia’s central bank and lifetime NRA member. Torshin, who has been targeted by U.S. sanctions, traveled with Butina to the United States to “discuss U.S.-Russian economic relations” in April 2015. The pair met with several senior American officials, like Federal Reserve vice chairman and former Israel central bank chief, Stanley Fischer; the Treasury undersecretary for international affairs, Nathan Sheets and others in a meeting “moderated” by AIG CEO Maurice “Hank” Greenberg. The details of the high-level meeting, two months before Donald Trump made his announcement to run for president, have never been made public.