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GOP & NRA-connected Russian 'Gun Rights Activist' Maria Butina Arrested

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+12 more 
posted on Jul, 16 2018 @ 05:33 PM
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From the DOJ release:


Maria Butina, 29, a Russian citizen residing in Washington D.C., was arrested on July 15, 2018, in Washington, D.C., and made her initial appearance this afternoon before Magistrate Judge Deborah A. Robinson in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. She was ordered held pending a hearing set for July 18, 2018.

According to the affidavit in support of the complaint, from as early as 2015 and continuing through at least February 2017, Butina worked at the direction of a high-level official in the Russian government who was previously a member of the legislature of the Russian Federation and later became a top official at the Russian Central Bank. This Russian official was sanctioned by the U.S. Department of the Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control in April 2018.

The court filings detail the Russian official’s and Butina’s efforts for Butina to act as an agent of Russia inside the United States by developing relationships with U.S. persons and infiltrating organizations having influence in American politics, for the purpose of advancing the interests of the Russian Federation. The filings also describe certain actions taken by Butina to further this effort during multiple visits from Russia and, later, when she entered and resided in the United States on a student visa. The filings allege that she undertook her activities without officially disclosing the fact that she was acting as an agent of Russian government, as required by law.


Criminal complaint here and affidavit here.

The "RUSSIAN OFFICIAL" is Alexander Torshin. "U.S. PERSON 1" is apparently GOP operative Paul Erickson. "GUN RIGHTS ASSOCIATION" is the NRA and "POLITICAL PARTY 1" would be the Republican Party.

I haven't read through the entire indictment yet. I first read about Butina and Erickson back in February:

The Kremlin and GOP Have a New Friend—and Boy, Does She Love Guns

She's charged with being an unregistered foreign agent. From the looks of it, she was working over the last few years, under the direction of Torshin, to establish ever higher level connections in the right-wing establishment with the assistance of Erickson, with whom she attended a number of events (2016 NRA convention, Trump inauguration, National Prayer Breakfast) as well as hosting dinners/parties.

Previously she's hosted NRA delegations to Russia which included among others, Sheriff David Clarke — where they met with sanctioned then Russian Deputy PM Dmitry Rogozin (now director of Roscosmos). Erickson has been an operative since way back with connections to infamous lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Speaking of which, interestingly, like Paul Manafort, in the 90's one of Erickson's clients was Congolese military dictator Mobutu Sese Seko.

Interesting side note, she attended FreedomFest 2015, during which in a town hall Q&Q, she asked candidate Trump about lifting sanctions:




+16 more 
posted on Jul, 16 2018 @ 05:37 PM
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She is being charged with not reporting to the Attorney General that she was acting on behalf of Russia.
That's it.

Nothing else that she did was illegal.

Governments of other countries ALWAYS do their best to establish relationships within other countries. Her mistake was not checking in with the Attorney General first.


+18 more 
posted on Jul, 16 2018 @ 05:38 PM
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So now Gun rights is an evil Russian machination!

What the eff ever.

Maybe Trump haters should run background checks on their own people an sees what comes up.



posted on Jul, 16 2018 @ 05:42 PM
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From the Daily Beast article linked in OP:


Two of Butina’s friendships in particular have raised eyebrows. She started a business with Paul Erickson, a decades-long Republican Party activist. And she served as a special assistant to the deputy governor of Russia’s central bank, Alexander Torshin, a former Russian senator belonging to Vladimir Putin’s political party with alleged ties to the Russian mob world.

On Nov. 12, 2016, shortly after the election of President Donald Trump, Butina held a birthday party at Cafe Deluxe near American University, where she attends graduate school classes.

The event was a costume party attended by Trump campaign aides and Erickson, who told guests that he was on the Trump presidential transition team. She dressed as Russian Empress Alexandra while Erickson was dressed as Rasputin.
“She said so in my class. And she said so several times in the last semester,” Svetlana Savranskaya, Butina’s former American University professor and a staffer at the National Security Archive, told The Daily Beast. “She is a former journalist, so she keeps up her connections in Russia. And she also works and [claims to] keep connections with a member of the Russian Duma.”

Erickson and Butina have been seen in public frequently, at the invitation-only Freedom Ball after Trump’s inauguration; and holding court at Russia House, a Russian-themed bar in Washington, D.C.’s Dupont Circle. At one such gathering in the fall of 2016 Erickson bragged that he was advising the Trump transition team, according to two sources who were present; he is also said to have told a story about introducing Mikhail Kalashnikov, inventor of the AK-47, to former NRA president David Keene. (Kalashnikov allegedly inspired the creation of “The Right to Bear Arms,” Butina’s gun rights group.)

The two appear to have gotten close: Erickson formed a limited liability corporation with Butina in February 2016, according to the South Dakota secretary of state. It is unclear what this organization, Bridges, LLC, actually does. (Despite living in Washington, D.C., Butina has a cellphone number with a South Dakota area code.)


Sounds like quite a party for a college student but it helps to have a bankroll.

Lots of talk here but I haven't seen anything that conclusively ties the two with Trump in any significant way. Apparently (according to a WaPo article I read), Erickson tried to setup a meeting between Torshin and then candidate Trump that didn't happen. The two did meet with Don Jr though he said the meeting was brief and unremarkable.

Quite possibly, they were drastically overstating their ties to Team Trump.



posted on Jul, 16 2018 @ 05:42 PM
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So WHO has more in common with RUSSIA ?



While self-defense and protection of property is a constitutional right guaranteed to Russian citizens, Russian legislation on gun control is relatively strict, limiting the circulation of firearms to Russian citizens older than eighteen years of age with a registered permanent residence, and for the purposes of self-defense, hunting, and sports activities only.The acquisition of guns is based on licenses provided for a five-year period by local police departments at one’s place of residence after a thorough background check, including a review of the petitioner’s ability to store guns safely and an evaluation of his/her medical records. Mentally ill people and those who have been treated for substance abuse are not allowed to possess firearms


www.loc.gov...

I wonder why Russia isn't very pro gun.

ETA:

For those that miss it.

That's the entire wish list of Russia phobes.
edit on 16-7-2018 by neo96 because: (no reason given)


+3 more 
posted on Jul, 16 2018 @ 05:49 PM
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a reply to: BlueAjah


She is being charged with not reporting to the Attorney General that she was acting on behalf of Russia.

That's it.


Yeah I'm not a big fan of lobbyists in general and I believe that we should severely limit foreign lobbying altogether. The fact that she was doing so without registering as a foreign lobbyist is telling.


Her mistake was not checking in with the Attorney General first.


Not registering as a foreign lobbyist wasn't a mistake, it was clearly intentional. She was paid by and directed by a sanctioned Russian official. There's a reason that unregistered foreign lobbying is a crime in the first place. It's not like forgetting the hall pass to use the restroom in high school.

But please, remember your lack of concern the next time you say anything about "the swamp" and a desire to see it drained.



posted on Jul, 16 2018 @ 05:52 PM
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a reply to: theantediluvian




Yeah I'm not a big fan of lobbyists in general and I believe that we should severely limit foreign lobbying altogether. T


Like foreign nationals lobbying at convention halls in Philadelphia?


+1 more 
posted on Jul, 16 2018 @ 06:00 PM
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Let's put this insignificant wanna-be lobbyist in perspective:


Top 10 foreign governments paying for influence in 2013

1. UAE 14.2 million

2. Germany $12 million

3. Canada $11.2 million

4. Saudi Arabia $11.1 million

5. Mexico $6.1 million

6. Morocco $4 million

7. South Korea $3.9 million

8. Republika Srpska (Bosnian Serb Republic) $2.4 million

9. Georgia $2.3 million

10. Azerbaijan $2.3 million


Which foreign countries spent the most to influence U.S. politics?

Has everyone not been paying attention since like... forever?
So many are all hot and bothered because ... Russians!!!

I don't know how many times this has to be repeated for people to start realizing....
EVERY government gets all up in the business of EVERY other government.
This is how it works.
Things did not suddenly change with Trump. It's not like all of a sudden this is the first time another government has ever tried to get the inside track, or influence politics in another country.


Based on what is publicly reported, foreign governments spent millions in 2013 to develop relationships within the United States with members of Congress, federal agencies and even the media, according to an analysis from the ever-informative Sunlight Foundation.


The rest of that article has some more information in case people still do not understand.


+7 more 
posted on Jul, 16 2018 @ 06:01 PM
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a reply to: theantediluvian

newrepublic.com...
She formed an organization in Russia 7 years ago called "The Right To Bear Arms" which was Russia's first movement to advocate for national firearm rights. The connection between her and the NRA was formed from this movement in Russia, one which saw her invited to the NRA's women in leadership council events to assist her with obtaining the fundamental right of firearm ownership for Russian citizens. In other words, she's been a human rights advocate who was befriended by one of America's primary human rights groups.


+4 more 
posted on Jul, 16 2018 @ 06:10 PM
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originally posted by: neo96
So now Gun rights is an evil Russian machination!

What the eff ever.

Maybe Trump haters should run background checks on their own people an sees what comes up.



The NRA is a Russian organization now! roflmao Boy is this charade getting good! What enemy would want the citizenry armed? Think about that one gun grabbers!!!!



posted on Jul, 16 2018 @ 06:18 PM
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a reply to: seeker1963

Clearly

GOP & NRA-connected Russian 'Gun Rights Activist'

The trifecta of 'anti americanism'.

And throw in right wing for kicks.



posted on Jul, 16 2018 @ 06:25 PM
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a reply to: burdman30ott6

That's nice. Except she's not in Russia, lobbying her government for stronger gun rights. She's in the United States, being paid and directed by sanction Russian politician and banker, Alexander Torshin, to cultivate relationships to exert pro-Kremlin influence over the US government.

And Natalia Veselnitskaya, who founded the "Human Rights Accountability Global Initiative Foundation," was just trying to restore the ability of Americans to adopt Russian babies.



posted on Jul, 16 2018 @ 06:27 PM
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Gun rights are more American than Apple pie. Being influenced by Russian agents is not



posted on Jul, 16 2018 @ 06:30 PM
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a reply to: neo96


The charges in criminal complaints are merely allegations and every defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. The maximum penalty for conspiracy is five years. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes. If convicted of any offense, a defendant’s sentence will be determined by the court based on the advisory U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.


justice. gov

I'm sure the timing has nothing to do with the summit.



posted on Jul, 16 2018 @ 06:31 PM
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originally posted by: theantediluvian
a reply to: burdman30ott6

That's nice. Except she's not in Russia, lobbying her government for stronger gun rights. She's in the United States, being paid and directed by sanction Russian politician and banker, Alexander Torshin, to cultivate relationships to exert pro-Kremlin influence over the US government.


Baloney.



posted on Jul, 16 2018 @ 06:34 PM
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What are all the anti NRA,GOP,Republicans gonna do when Americans started getting bullsnip charges levied on them in 'Mother Russia' ?



posted on Jul, 16 2018 @ 06:53 PM
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a reply to: theantediluvian

I can't imagine it would be in Russian interest to lobby for Americans gun rights, kinda would be counter productive to any invasion plans to have Americans more armed than they already are. But I suppose it fits the Mueller agenda to dig up all they can. Should be an interesting trial, if it ever makes it to a court room.



posted on Jul, 16 2018 @ 06:56 PM
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So Russia wants American's to maintain the 2nd amendment?

I like Russia. Exposing corruption and helping us keep our 2nd amendment. Great friends! Better than China that's for sure.



posted on Jul, 16 2018 @ 07:11 PM
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a reply to: DJMSN




can't imagine it would be in Russian interest to lobby for Americans gun rights,


Russian interest in gun rights is the same exact thing as left wing interest in them.

Non existent.



posted on Jul, 16 2018 @ 07:19 PM
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a reply to: neo96

That's a good point. I do believe the leftist base would love to yank guns from American hands but the politician's in charge of the left use it to garner votes, and since they have had control many times in the recent past and could have done something but didn't kinda proves your point.




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