Russian woman was foreign agent who eyed NRA, politicians

The FBI has accused Maria Butina of acting as an unregistered Russian agent

Butina, a former Siberian furniture owner, is also a board member and founder of the Russian gun rights group, "The Right to Bear Arms", The Washington Post reported.

The DOJ also seemed to refer to the NRA by noting part of Butina's role "as an agent of Russia inside the United States" who was "infiltrating organizations having influence in American politics, for the objective of advancing the interests of the Russian Federation".

The court records do not name the official.

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

The government claims that between 2015 and February 2017 Butina "worked at the direction of a high-level official in the Russian government", who was sanctioned by the United States in April 2018.

Torshin is a former senator and deputy head of Russia's central bank who is close to Russian President Vladimir Putin. According to the press release Mr. Hogg retweeted, Ms. Butina was tasked by the Kremlin with "infiltrating organizations having influence in American politics" to aid Moscow's ends.

"Maria Butina is not an agent of the Russian Federation".

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She allegedly worked at the direction of a high-level Kremlin official.

It comes just hours after US President Donald Trump backed his Russian counterpart's denial that there was any involvement or meddling in the American elections.

In an email sent in March 2015, Butina explained that Republicans would likely obtain control over the U.S. government after the 2016 election and said the NRA plays a significant role in the party as it is the largest sponsor of elections to the U.S. Congress.

U.S. media have previously reported her ties to the National Rifle Association (NRA), the most powerful gun lobby in the US.

Butina also attended the National Prayer Breakfast in 2016 and 2017 and told an unidentified American that the other Russians there were handpicked by her and Torshin and "are coming to establish a back channel of communication", the Federal Bureau of Investigation wrote.

The arrest is the latest dizzying development related to Russian Federation in recent days and revealed only about three hours after President Donald Trump's press conference in Helsinki in which he shocked the world by siding with Vladimir Putin rather than his own intelligence agencies regarding election meddling by Russia's spy agencies in the 2016. There is no evidence that Torshin ever met Trump, but he crossed paths with Donald Trump Jr. during the 2016 NRA convention in Louisville, Kentucky.


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