Report: Trump Planned to Meet with Putin Ally

President Donald Trump had planned to meet with a Russian bank executive and Vladimir Putin ally in February, but the White House abruptly canceled the rendezvous after learning of his suspected mob ties, according to a report from Yahoo News. A national security official reportedly found out that Alexander Torshin, the deputy governor of the Bank of Russia who is close with Putin, was suspected of leading an “organized crime and money-laundering ring” in Spain, according to Yahoo News. The meeting was set to occur at the Washington Hilton hotel with a “small number of guests” before the National Prayer Breakfast, to which Torshin was leading a Russian delegation. “Late the night before, we were told that all meet and greets were off,” Torshin’s special assistant Maria Butina said. “There were no specific questions or statements that Mr. Torshin had in mind during what we assumed to be a five-second handshake.” The Daily Beast’s Tim Mak profiled Butina, who is building bridges with Republicans in Washington. She and Torshin are members of the National Rifle Association, a top Trump backer. Trump has faced questions over alleged ties to Russia, and the FBI is investigating whether Trump campaign officials colluded with Russian operatives involved in election hacking.