Mariia Butina: Woman arrested in DC for working on behalf of Russian Federation

Mariia Butina: Woman arrested in DC for working on behalf of Russian Federation

Torshin and Butina "methodically cultivated ties with leaders of the National Rifle Association" and used those connections over the course of several years to gain deeper access into American politics, NPR reported in March.

According to prosecutors, Butina met an American political operative in Moscow in 2013, after which the operative worked with her to arrange introductions to Americans with influence in USA politics, including the gun rights organization NRA.

Russian citizen Maria Butina has been arrested and is being held by the USA government, the Department of Justice announced Monday, for allegedly working as an unauthorized agent of the Russian Federation in the United States.

She made her initial court appearance Monday afternoon, and was ordered held pending a hearing set for Wednesday.

He said: 'The substance of the charge in the complaint is overblown, ' and insisted Butina only wished to network with Americans.

Ms Butina is a Russian gun rights advocate who founded a pro-gun organisation, the Right to Bear Arms, in that country in 2011. "The complaint is simply a misuse of the Foreign Agent statute, which is created to punish covert propaganda, not open and public networking by foreign students".

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According to an affidavit from the Justice Department, Butina tried to set up a back-channel line of communication between Russian Federation and "political party leaders" through a "gun rights organization". A spokesperson for the University did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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".

Torshin is now a senior official with Russia's central bank and a former top Russian lawmaker. Butina was supposed to be studying worldwide relations in the US on a student visa but was secretly reporting back to Moscow, per NPR. The official, whose name was not released, was sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury Department in April.

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 USA on a student visa. After the visit, Butina emailed the organizer of the breakfast thanking him for a gift and "for the very private meeting" that followed the breakfast.

"There is simply no indication of Butina seeking to influence of undermine any specific policy or law [of] the United States - only at most to promote a better relationship between the two nations", Driscoll said. He said she "has been cooperating with various government entities for months regarding public allegations related to her contacts with various American and russian individuals", testified for eight hours before the Intelligence Committee and provided "thousands of documents".

"Our delegation can not stop chatting about your wonderful dinner", Butina wrote. FBI Special Agent Kevin Helson wrote that Butina was attempting to "establish a "back channel" communication for representatives of the Government of Russian Federation". The Post reported Butina accompanied Erickson to Trump's inauguration.

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