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Trump meets US pro-gun lobby chief to discuss financial backing amid scandal

Chief of powerful US pro-gun lobby group has met with President Donald Trump, who is seeking financial support in face of his latest political scandal. (File photo)

US President Donald Trump has met with the chief of the country’s notorious pro-gun lobby National Rifle Association (NRA) to discuss how the group could extend financial assistance to the president as he faces another political scandal.

A Trump administration official confirmed the Friday meeting between Trump and NRA’s CEO Wayne LaPierre but did not elaborate on what they discussed as reported the same day by the New York Times,  citing “two people familiar with the situation.”

According to the report, it was not clear which side initiated the Friday meeting, but during the discussions LaPierre called on the White House to “stop the games” on gun control legislation.

After numerous mass shootings across the US earlier this year, Trump has floated various possible gun legislation measures but the daily said that LaPierre has attempted to talk the American president out of the background check measures, which he had considered supporting.

“It’s no secret the president wants meaningful solutions to protect American communities and potentially stop one of these tragedies from ever happening again,” said White House spokesman  Hogan Gidley as quoted in the Times report, adding: “And he’s going to continue doing his job even though Democrats refuse to do theirs.”

The meeting came after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced earlier in the week that a formal impeachment inquiry would be held to look into revelation that Trump had pressured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate his rival Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden.

The development also came as NRA has been shaken by a series of scandals in recent weeks.

House Democrats released a report on Friday saying that the politically power lobby group "became a foreign asset" for Russia ahead of the 2016 election, although an NRA attorney decried the report as politically motivated. 

The results of an investigation conducted by the Democratic members of the US Senate were published by Oregon senator Ron Wyden on Friday, alleging that the NRA may have broken tax laws by using donated funds to further its officers’ business interests.

Wyden and other Democrats on the Senate finance committee further found that a delegation of NRA officials traveled to Moscow in December 2015 in a visit coordinated by two Russians identified as Maria Butina and Alexander Torshin.

Butina is currently serving an 18-month prison sentence after she allegedly attempted to infiltrate American right-wing institutions, including the NRA, to promote Russian political interests around the 2016 election.

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