Today, Maria Butina was arrested and charged with conspiracy to act as a Russian agent.
The Daily Beast has the details about this mysterious woman:
Just a few years ago, Maria Butina owned a furniture store in Siberia. Now she’s wheeling and dealing with D.C. think-tankers, Republican strategists, and a Russian bank chief with alleged mob connections.
Depending on the audience, Butina has presented herself as a Russian central bank staffer, a leading gun rights advocate, a “representative of the Russian Federation,” a Washington, D.C., graduate student, a journalist, and a connection between Team Trump and Russia. She used each role to help her gain more high-level contacts in the nation’s capital.
— Christo Grozev (@christogrozev) July 16, 2018
The criminal complaint begins:
“From in or around 20 I 5 and possibly earlier, up to and including the present, in the District of Columbia and elsewhere, MARIA BUTINA, a/k/a “Maria Butina” (‘BUTNA’), the defendant, and others known and unknown, including an official of the Russian Federation, knowingly did combine, conspire, confederate, and agree together and with each other to commit an offense against the United States, to wit, Title 18, United States Code, Section 951, in violation of Title l & United States Code, Section 371.
The objects of the conspiracy were:
a. To act in the United States as an agent of a foreign government specifically the Russian Federation, without prior notification to the Attorney General;
b. To act in the United Stales as an agent of a foreign government official, specifically an official of the Russian Federation, without prior notification to the Attorney General;
c. To exploit personal connections with U.S. persons having influence in American politics in an effort to advance the interests of the Russian Federation without prior notification to the Attorney General; and
d. To infiltrate organizations active in U.S. politics in an effort to advance the interests of the Russian Federation without prior notification to the Attorney General.
This story is developing, so stay tuned for more information.
Image Credit: [[File:Vladimir PUtin Russia Guggenheim museum.jpg|Vladimir PUtin Russia Guggenheim museum]]