U.S. charges Russian national with being a foreign agent

Saul Bowman
July 18, 2018

Maria Butina, 29, was arrested on Sunday on charges of conspiring to act as an agent of the Russian government in the United States without notifying the attorney general. She'll be detained for three days until her next court appearance.

According to some reports, Maria Butina worked as an assistant to the deputy chairman of the Russian Central Bank, Alexander Torshin. According to previous reporting, the party is the GOP and the organization is the National Rifle Association. They were preparing for when Obama and Putin would no longer be presidents.

Walker's re-election campaign spokesman had no immediate comment Monday.

Butina's arrest came on the same day President Trump denied that Russian Federation had interfered in the 2016 presidential election during a press conference with Vladimir Putin.

The Justice Department complaint was made public on the same day President Donald Trump met Russia's Vladimir Putin at a summit in Helsinki, at which Trump refused to blame the Russian leader for meddling in the 2016 US presidential election.

Savvy student or a spy?

On 16 July 2018, the Federal Bureau of Investigation announced that they had charged Russian national Mariia Butina with conspiring against the United States as an unregistered secret agent.

Driscoll said during the hearing that Butina had recently earned a master's degree in worldwide relations from American University.

There is no official confirmation of which pro-gun rights organisation Butina is accused of trying to penetrate. FBI Special Agent Kevin Helson wrote that Butina was attempting to "establish a "back channel" communication for representatives of the Government of Russian Federation".

Butina's lawyer said she has cooperated with government authorities for months and voluntarily testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee for eight hours. He said she was rebuffed when she offered interviews to special counsel Robert Mueller's team. Butina has been arrested on charges of conspiring to act as an agent of the Russian government in the USA without notifying the attorney general. According to the Justice Department, Butina worked "at the direction of a high-level official in the Russian government" from "as early as 2015. through at least February 2017". While the official was not named in the indictment, it appears to be Torshin. In April, the US sanctioned Torshin and a number of other officials close to Russian leader Vladimir Putin.

Maria Butina delivers a speech during a rally in Russian Federation.

It's been determined that Maria Butina attended her first NRA convention in Indianapolis in the spring of 2014.

The affidavit also alleges that on October 4, 2016, U.S. Person 1 emailed an acquaintance and claimed to be involved in "securing a VERY private line of communication between the Kremlin" and an unnamed political party.

"As I have said since the start of this campaign, Donald Trump is betraying our country to the Russians and it is destroying our democracy".

A source said previous year that Torshin and Butina were eager for Mr. Trump to travel to Russian Federation to meet with Putin.

Torshin and Butina often used their NRA ties to try to bolster Russian interests. According to her student profile, Butina focused on "Global Security" for the past two years.

Two days later, she emailed another American who had been involved in some of the email communication surrounding the prayer breakfast and her efforts to arrange several dinners between Russians and people involved in U.S. politics. "We had been corresponding since she left for the United States, but our most recent telephone call was previous year", Shashkova added.

Butina has had interactions with several people with South Dakota ties.

Butina will have some high-powered assistance mounting her defense.

The new court documents describe a series of messages she exchanged with other people discussing their work to try to advocate for Russian Federation behind the scenes in Washington, D.C., as the 2016 political season wore on.

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