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National Security Advisor John Bolton Has a Maria Butina Problem

Today, Ranking Member on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), and Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on National Security, Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA), sent a letter to White House Chief of Staff John Kelly requesting any records related to national security advisor John Bolton’s work with alleged Kremlin agent Maria Butina or the gun rights organization she founded in Moscow, the Right to Bear Arms.

The Representatives asked Kelly to “produce documents related to whether Bolton reported his previous work with this alleged Russian spy on his security clearance forms or other White House vetting materials prior to President Trump appointing him to his current position.”

In March of this year, NPR reported that in 2013, at the request of former NRA president David Keene, John Bolton filmed a video that was used by Butina’s gun rights group. At the time, Bolton was head of the NRA’s international affairs subcommittee. In the video, Bolton praised “a new era of freedom” in Russia, and advocated for the Russian government to loosen its gun laws.

Excerpt from the letter from Reps. Cummings and Lynch:

“We are writing regarding recent reports that National Security Advisor John Bolton, in his former capacity as a top official with the National Rifle Association (NRA), worked directly with a Russian citizen who has now been charged by federal prosecutors with infiltrating that organization and spying against the United States for years.

“Given the alarming and unprecedented nature of these revelations–and the high-level position of trust Mr. Bolton now holds–we request that you produce documents relating to whether Mr. Bolton reported his previous work with this alleged Russian spy on his security clearance forms or other White House vetting materials prior to President Trump appointing him to his current position.

“The Committee on Oversight and Government Reform has previously investigated widespread failures by the Trump White House to adequately vet top national security officials for their Russian contacts, including Mr. Bolton’s predecessor, former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn.”

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