Published: Tue, July 17, 2018
Global Media | By Garry Long

US Arrests Russian Agent for Conspiring to Influence Politics

US Arrests Russian Agent for Conspiring to Influence Politics

Butina was involved with a Russian gun group that the National Rifle Association supported, according to CNN.

Maria Butina has been arrested and charged with conspiracy to act as a Russian agent.

Butina - a resident of Washington, D.C. - was arrested on Sunday. The official was not formally named in the indictment but appears to be Alexander Torshin, who was previously a member of the Russian legislature and was later a top official at the Central Bank of Russia. Her lawyer, Robert Neil Driscoll, told the judge that Butina's residence was searched by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in April, that she had testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee in a closed session several months ago, and that "we have been offering to cooperate with the government the entire time". "This Russian official was sanctioned by the U.S. Department of the Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control in April 2018", the Justice Department said in a statement.

Butina, a Russian national who has been living the U.S., was charged with conspiracy to act as an unregistered agent of the Russian government and accused of working to infiltrate American political organizations, including the National Rifle Association. "She is a Russian national in the United States on a student visa who recently graduated from American University in Washington, D.C. with a Masters Degree in International Relations and 4.0 Grade Point Average", the statement says.

The Justice Department said Butina had broken U.S. law by not disclosing to United States authorities that she was acting on behalf of the Russian government.

According to the indictment, Butina was "developing relationships with United States persons and infiltrating organizations having influence in American politics, for the objective of advancing the interests of the Russian Federation", without registering with the DOJ as a foreign agent.

Trump blames Obama ‘foolishness’ for worst EVER relations with Russian Federation
Friday's indictment was secured by Special Counsel Robert Mueller as part of his probe into Russian involvement in the election. They then released the stolen information through fake accounts in the weeks before voters went to the polls that November.

Butina's attorney, Robert Neil Driscoll, said in a statement to the Post that Butina is "not an agent of the Russian Federation".

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

The announcement of her arrest came hours after US President Donald Trump met his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, in closed-door talks in the Finnish capital Helsinki on Monday.

According to these sources, the fact that Torshin wasn't charged along with Butina is a sign that special counsel Robert Mueller is trying to secure her cooperation and get her to turn on Torshin or other Russian officials. A spokesperson for the University did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The charges are not related to the Mueller probe that is examining alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 election. She told The Washington Post in April 2017 that "no government official has ever approached me about "fostering ties" with any Americans". Among those who attended were former NRA President David Keene, conservative political operative Paul Erickson and former Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, later a strong Trump supporter.

Like this: