Criminal Complaint Unsealed Today in the District of Columbia Charging Maria Butina with “Conspiracy to Act as an Agent of the Russian Federation Within the United States without Prior Notification to the Attorney General”
Maria Butina Has Claimed to Have Been a Go-Between Between the Trump Campaign and Russia; She is the Longtime Aide to Russian Politician and Banker Alexander Torshin Who Has Since Been Sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury and is Reportedly Being Investigated by the FBI
NEW YORK – Everytown for Gun Safety today released the following statement after the Department of Justice announced the arrest of Russian national and lifetime NRA member Maria Butina, for allegedly “infiltrating organizations having influence in American politics, for the purpose of advancing the interests of the Russian Federation.” The affidavit released by the Department of Justice details how “U.S. Person 1 worked with Butina to jointly arrange introductions to U.S. persons having influence in American politics, including an organization promoting gun rights for the purpose of advancing the agenda of the Russian Federation.”
STATEMENT FROM JOHN FEINBLATT, PRESIDENT OF EVERYTOWN FOR GUN SAFETY:
“The NRA has avoided explaining its ties to Putin for more than a year now. That should end now that DOJ has charged a Russian national with deep ties to NRA leadership with being a spy.”
“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.”
“The FBI’s investigation has also revealed that BUTINA and the RUSSIAN OFFICIAL planned to advance Moscow’s long-term strategic objectives in the United States, in part, by establishing relationships with American political organizations, including the GUN RIGHTS ORGANIZATION. Based on my training, experience and familiarity with this investigation, I believe that BUTINA and the RUSSIAN OFFICIAL took these steps in order to infiltrate those groups and advance the interests of the Russian Federation.
“The Russian influence operation included, among other things, (i) taskings from the RUSSIAN OFFICIAL to BUTINA; (ii) meetings between BUTINA and U.S. politicians and political candidates; (iii) BUTINA’s attendance at events sponsored by special interest groups, also attended by U.S. politicians and political candidates; and (iv) BUTINA’s reporting back to Moscow through the RUSSIAN OFFICIAL the results of the various encounters with the U.S. politicians and political candidates.”