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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.
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.)
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
She is being charged with not reporting to the Attorney General that she was acting on behalf of Russia.
Her mistake was not checking in with the Attorney General first.
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
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.
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 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.
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.