Friday, 17 August, 2018

Russian charged with infiltrating USA political groups under Kremlin direction

U.S. President Donald Trump left and Russian President Vladimir Putin right during their joint news conference at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki Finland Monday MoreCloseclosemore
Faye Gross | 17 July, 2018, 05:14

The complaint lists (with redacted names) messages between Butina, a Russian official, and at least two USA citizens.

Butina poses with NRA Executive Vice President and CEO Wayne LaPierre.Butina is seen with David Keene, former NRA president and chairman of the American Conservative Union, the group that runs the annual CPAC conference attended by prominent Republicans.Butina with former NRA President Jim Porter at the NRA convention in 2014.Butina and Alexander Torshin, a top Russian official, meet GOP Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. Torshin was among several Russian oligarchs hit by USA sanctions in April. In April, the USA sanctioned Torshin and a number of other officials close to Russian leader Vladimir Putin.

Butina was arrested on Sunday and was ordered held pending a hearing set for Wednesday, it said.

Mueller didn't file the charge against Butina, but court papers show that her activities revolved around American politics during the 2016 campaign and included efforts to use contacts with the National Rifle Association and American politicians to gather intelligence for Russian Federation.

The agency said Butina, 29, who lives in Washington, D.C., acted as an agent inside the U.S.

Buttina's attorney Robert Neil Driscoll says she denies a charge of conspiracy to act as an agent of the Russian Federation.

Butina is a Russian gun rights advocate who founded a pro-gun organization in that country, the Right to Bear Arms, in 2011 and who has been involved in coordinating in recent years between American gun rights activists and their Russian counterparts, United States media accounts have reported.

Neither the political party, nor the gun rights organization are specifically named in this complaint, although analysts have speculated that, judging from context from the entire document (and Butina's known history), the gun rights organization is the NRA.

Victoria's high-energy soccer fans cheer their teams in World Cup final
We are proud to be French, to be Blues. "I think it's great to have a setting like this, to be able to experience the game on the big screen", she said.


The charges are not related to the Mueller probe that is examining alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

The Justice Department said Butina carried out her activities in the United States at the direction of the "Russian official".

Torshin and Butina unsuccessfully tried to secure a meeting with President Trump before the 2016 election, a source familiar with the matter told CBS News last November.

Ms Butina sought to foster ties with an "organisation promoting gun rights", the DOJ said. "And she also works and [claims to] keep connections with a member of the Russian Duma". A spokesperson for the University did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

McClatchy previously reported that the FBI was investigating Russian attempts to funnel money to the Trump presidential campaign through the NRA, a claim the gun rights group has denied.

Butina has previously surfaced in USA media reports related to her gun-rights advocacy. The pair did, however, have a brief meeting with Donald Trump Jr. at a NRA event in May 2016.

NPR also reported in March that Butina was also in contact with the NRA. The Post reported Butina accompanied Erickson to Trump's inauguration.

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