Published: Mon, July 16, 2018
Worldwide | By Jermaine Blake

United States charges Russian national with being a foreign agent

United States charges Russian national with being a foreign agent

The court records do not name the official.

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.

"We could give them the benefit of the doubt and say this is just a natural interest and affinity; this guy Torshin and this woman Butina are just gun aficionados", Polyakova noted.

According to court papers, Butina met with US politicians and candidates, attended events sponsored by special interest groups - including two National Prayer Breakfast events - and organized Russian-American "friendship and dialogue" dinners in Washington with the goal of "reporting back to Moscow" what she had learned.

The affidavit stated that in in 2017, Butina and the official attended the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington. The person is described as a member of the Russian legislature who later became a top official in the country's central bank.

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Butina was arrested on Sunday and was ordered held pending a hearing set for Wednesday, it said. One December 2015 trip to Russian Federation funded by the the Right to Bear Arms was attended by former NRA president David Keene, former Wisconsin sheriff and Fox News regular David Clarke, and NRA member and GOP operative Paul Erickson.

She and Torshin also attended a series of NRA events in the United States starting in 2014. As TPM has documented and the new criminal filings lay out, they used that group to establish close ties with Republican officials in the US, inviting them to summits in Moscow.

Hours after President Trump met with Russian leader Vladimir Putin and said there's no reason Russia would have meddled in the U.S. election, the Justice Department announced the arrest of 29-year-old Russian national Maria Butina and charged her with spying in the US. The filings also describe certain actions taken by Butina to further this effort during multiple visits from Russian Federation and, later, when she entered and resided in the United States on a student visa.

Butina did not disclose her status as an agent of the Russian government, which was required by law.

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