The Bolton video appears to be another plank in a bridge built by Russia to conservative political organizations inside the United States. It's unclear why Russian leaders wanted to curry favor with the NRA, but Torshin and Keene appeared to have developed close ties in the years prior to the 2016 election.
It's a relationship that has outsize importance now that the FBI is reportedly investigating whether Torshin illegally funneled money to the NRA to assist the Trump campaign in 2016, as McClatchy reported in January. The NRA has denied wrongdoing.
Butina, who is alleged to have been a “covert Russian agent” developing an “influence operation” in the United States since 2015, faces a statutory maximum of five years in prison for the first offense and a statutory maximum of 10 years in prison for the second offense.
It is routine for prosecutors to seek a grand jury indictment after initially filing charges with a criminal complaint. According to a spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia, Butina is due to appear before Judge Deborah A. Robinson in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia at 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday....
Butina, 29, had been a mysterious presence in conservative circles over the past several years. She cofounded the Russian gun-rights group “The Right to Bear Arms” with Alexander Torshin, one of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s closest allies, and then, according to prosecutors, used those seemingly shared interests to cultivate ties to high-ranking NRA officials and conservative politicians in the United States.
You can go do a google search of Butina and find her posting with all sorts of GOP politicians, like Scott Walker (who, amazingly, spoke Russian with her), Rick Santorum,
Here's Maria Butina asking Donald Trump a question about Russian sanctions in 2015
Re: Trump when he went to Helsinki to meet with Putin: John Bolton, his NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR, went with but wasn't included in the private meeting. I don't like John Bolton, he's always been too much of a hawk for my taste but I have to say WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED? Is he being blackmailed by Trump? Or he is just such a wuss that wants power that he'll put up with being a dog petted by Trump while otherwise being ignored? or is he also up to his eyeballs in Russia stuff?
Days later, insiders who know Bolton are still struggling to explain how the man who’s advocated violent regime change in Iraq, Iran, and North Korea could have allowed his boss to bend the knee before one of America’s greatest geopolitical adversaries. “I’m stumped,” said a former high-ranking State Department official. “The John Bolton I remember from the past was a strong hawk. So either he’s changed, or the president isn’t listening to him or taking his advice on how to deal with Russia.” A second erstwhile colleague, also a former senior State Department official, concurred. “The John Bolton I know would have been more horrified than I am over what happened,” this person told me. “I mean, he must just be pulling his forelock practically out of his head in order to maintain the ‘Oh you’re so great’ and ‘Mr. President, oh you’re the best.’ That’s the only thing that works with this birdbrain, and he must be doing it over and over and over again.”
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