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Maria Butina: Feds charge Russian national for acting as covert Kremlin agent

Maria Butina: Feds charge Russian national for acting as covert Kremlin agent

The FBI has arrested a Russian national, accused of acting as an unregistered foreign agent in the United States with the intent to influence a major American political party and a "GUN RIGHTS ORGANIZATION".

In U.S. court filings in Washington late on July 16, prosecutors said Maria Butina, 29, entertained and cultivated relationships with U.S. politicians and worked to infiltrate U.S. political organizations, particularly the National Rifle Association, the powerful gun lobbying organization, while reporting back to a high-ranking official in Moscow.

It said that Butina had broken United States law by not disclosing that she was acting on behalf of the Russian government.

Court papers photographed in Washington, shows part of the criminal complaint against Maria Butina.

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.

The affidavit quotes from several private message exchanges shortly before the 2016 presidential election between not only Butina and the Russian Official but Butina and an unnamed US person, both of whom, the affidavit notes, she met and communicated with regularly as they developed an "influence operation".

Before the summit, Trump took to Twitter to blast Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into whether Trump's campaign colluded with Russian Federation, calling it a "rigged witch hunt".

Trump on Monday again denied any collusion between his campaign and the Kremlin and appeared to accept Russian denials of any meddling in U.S. elections following his summit with Putin.

NPR also reported in March that Butina was also in contact with the NRA.

"This is Maria Butina-arrested for being a Russian spy-in the Oval Office with Trump".

She undertook such activities without disclosing to the USA government that she was working for Russian Federation, which is required by law. According to Johnson's social media posts, Butina spoke about the lack of gun rights in her native Russian Federation.

When Butina asked Trump about his position on Russian Federation, he replied: "I believe I would get along very nicely with Putin".

Twitter users began sharing a photo of an Oval Office meeting previous year between President Donald Trump and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, charging that Butina was in the background of the photo.

KSFY News is investigating Butina's local ties.

Butina has previously said her outreach to American political operatives was purely out of a shared passion for firearms. She had several other key interactions with the Trump campaign, the Post reported, including an appearance at a Trump town hall in 2015 and a brief interaction with the president's son, Donald Trump Jr.

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