DC gun rights activist charged with being a Russian spy

by Abel Hampton July 17, 2018, 22:41
DC gun rights activist charged with being a Russian spy

She is pictured with Torshin in numerous photographs on her Facebook page.

The charges against Butina come days after the Justice Department unveiled an indictment against 12 Russian intelligence officers for allegedly conspiring to hack Democrats in 2016 and just hours after President Donald Trump cast doubt on Russia's involvement in an extraordinary joint news conference with President Putin.

Butina even considered becoming a volunteer election observer, but she and the unnamed Russian official she reported to concluded the effort would be too risky.

Torshin said in 2011 that he was a "life member" of the NRA along with Butina whose stated goal was to further the right to private firearms ownership in Russian Federation.

The second unidentified American citizen was included in a series of email communications in 2016 and 2017 that show Butina's efforts "to arrange a series of dinners in the District of Columbia and New York City involving Russian nationals and USA persons having influence in American politics", the affidavit alleges.

Reuters, citing an anonymous source, reported that Butina was a Trump supporter who bragged at parties in Washington that she could use her political connections to help get people jobs in the Trump administration after the election. Torshin and Butina accompanied several NRA board members on a December 2015 visit to Moscow, and Torshin sat at a dinner table with Donald Trump Jr.at the the May 2016 National Rifle Association convention.

The Justice Department charged a Russian national who, along with her mentor, aimed to set up backchannel communications between Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, with conspiring against the U.S. as a secret agent. The Treasury Department sanctioned Torshin in April 2018 as part of an effort to punish the Russian government for "malign activity" around the world.

Democrats on the U.S. House Intelligence Committee investigating any ties between Trump's campaign and Russian Federation previously highlighted Butina as a person of interest and sought permission from the committee's Republican leadership to bring her in for questioning. The NRA did not immediately return a request for comment.

There may yet be more to this story: The FBI has reportedly been investigating whether the Kremlin funneled money through the NRA to help the Trump campaign. A 2017 article, published on an AU website for the Carmel Institute of Russian History & Culture, described Butina as a master's student in the School of International Service. Butina has claimed she was involved in communications between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign, a connection senators are now investigating.

The Justice Department said that a hearing is set for Wednesday.

Butina also says she met with Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker at his presidential campaign launch event in 2015, according to a report by Mother Jones magazine earlier this year.

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