Tuesday, July 17, 2018

New Charges Confirm That 'Infiltration' Was An Aspect Of Russian 2016 Attack

New charges against a woman who tried to build bridges between the Russian government and American political leaders via the National Rifle Association delivered a breakthrough in understanding one aspect of the attack on the 2016 election: "infiltration."

After months of questions and speculation as to how or whether the NRA connection might have worked, prosecutors have proffered an answer: the Russian woman, Maria Butina, was the intermediary between Russian government officials and Americans, both in the NRA and elsewhere in politics, according to court documents

The government charges that she was acting as a foreign agent without registering. Her attorney called the charges overblown, as NPR's Carrie Johnson reported.

Butina serves or served as the deputy to someone identified in court papers only as a "Russian official," who is probably Alexander Torshin, a now-sanctioned Kremlin official who also cultivated relationships with American political leaders and the NRA over several years

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