Here are some things we know about Maria Butina. In addition, she has had a romantic relationship with an older male Republican operative who introduced Butina to other Republicans and appears to be the type of entrepreneurial grifter that is a mainstay of movement conservatism.
MOSCOW (AP) — Russia's Foreign Minister has held a telephone call with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in which he complained about the Americans' arrest of a Russian woman on allegations of being a covert agent.
BELLEVUE, Wash., July 20, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- The Second Amendment Foundation and National Rifle Association today filed a lawsuit against the City of Seattle and Mayor Jenny Durkan over adoption of a so-called "safe storage" requirement, alleging that it violates Washington State's 35-year-old preemption statute, and is therefore unenforceable. Also named as defendants are the Seattle Police Department and Chief Carmen Best. "The City of Seattle has been trying to erode state preemption almost from the moment it was passed back in 1985," recalled SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb.
This newspaper has long been a moderate voice on gun control. We recognize the validity of the Second Amendment, while simultaneously acknowledging that reasonable measures are a good way to keep guns out of the hands of those who would do evil. We do not believe that gun control measures alone will prevent the next mass murder. As almost every police official will tell you, anyone can find a gun in this country without searching very far and without having to observe the niceties of permit requirements or waiting periods. Yet we are convinced more can be done. The man charged with assaulting our newsroom on June 28 and killing five of our colleagues reportedly obtained his shotgun legally. Even
Second Amendment activists were given a surprise boost this week when the liberal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals backed a lower court's decision to suspend California's ban on the possession of large magazines. Activists, supported by the National Rifle Association, have argued that the state's ban on ownership of magazines holding 10 bullets or more is unconstitutional. They won a preliminary injunction by a San Diego district court last year, and a three-judge panel on the Ninth Circuit backed that injunction Tuesday. The court found that the district court did not abuse its discretion in granting the injunction or by concluding that magazines fall within the scope of the Second Amendment.
The Senate Finance Committee narrowly approved on a party-line vote President Donald Trump's choice to become the new head of the IRS, with the panel's Democrats protesting the nomination because of a new IRS policy allowing some groups to hide their donors' identities. The 14-13 vote Thursday with majority Republicans prevailing sent the nomination of Beverly Hills tax attorney Charles Rettig to the full Senate. All the Democrats voted against his nomination even though they considered him qualified for the job.
When Mariia Butina was indicted on conspiracy charges Monday, her name wasn't new to the House Intelligence Committee. In fact, committee Democrats tried to question Butina, but the Republican majority apparently shut it down so she wouldn't "tarnish" the National Rifle Association, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said Thursday on CNN's New Day. "We didn't know whether she was an agent of a foreign power, but certainly had deep concerns over her activities," Schiff, the top Democrat on the intelligence committee, said of Butina, who's charged with conspiracy against the U.S. as an unregistered Russian agent.
To some she was the flame-haired Russian face of their country’s gun lobby. To others she was a journalist. Some saw her as a mere student. But to the US government, she was a suspected spy. Now Maria Butina, 29, is facing federal conspiracy charges, appearing in court on Wednesday in Washington DC. Butina’s lawyers acknowledge that she has been intensively questioned by the Senate intelligence committee, but insist that she is just a student. Yet she has been on the FBI’s radar since at least 2015. "It's psychosis. A witch hunt," her father, Valery Butin, was quoted as saying Wednesday by the Altapress website in her hometown of Barnaul. Maria Butina Born in Barnaul, in Siberia, to an engineer mother and entrepreneur father, she was interested in politics from an early age and studied political science at Altu State University. Her father and grandfather were hunters, she said in a 2016 interview, and she founded a group called The Right to Bear Arms in 2012 to promote liberalisation of gun ownership laws in Russia. Initially on graduating she followed in her businessman father’s footsteps, launching and running a furniture store in Siberia. This courtroom sketch depicts Maria Butina, in orange suit, a 29-year-old gun-rights activist suspected of being a covert Russian agent Credit: AP But in 2011 she sold the store to move to Moscow to pursue a career in politics, and maintain her gun rights activism. She took up an unpaid role as a special assistant to a well-connected Russian senator, Aleksandr Torshin, and worked for him from 2011 to 2015 while he was serving on the Russian federal council as first vice chairman. He shared her passion for guns, being declared a life member of the NRA and travelling to the US for conferences - until he was stopped by sanctions in April of this year. By 2015 she was frequently in the US, and attended a Trump rally in Las Vegas a month after his candidacy was declared and asked him about his views on Vladimir Putin. “I know Putin, and I’ll tell you what, we get along with Putin. I believe I would get along very nicely with Putin, OK? I don’t think you’d need the sanctions. I think we would get along very, very well,” Mr Trump said. She also briefly met Donald Trump Jr. The following year she was studying for a Master's in international relations at the American University’s Kogod School of Business, but her gun activism in Russia remained strong. “We and gun rights advocates in many other countries have learned important lessons from the American NRA,” Butina said at the time. “The power of average citizens steadily seeking ever greater gun rights through the power of persuasion and smart communication.” Maria Butina In February 2016, Butina set up a company in South Dakota with Republican veteran strategist Paul Erickson, with whom, according to the Washington Post, she was in a romantic relationship. In November, after the election, she held a fancy dress party in Washington DC attended by Mr Erickson and Trump campaign aides - reportedly bragging about being part of the Trump campaign’s communications with Russia. She then attended Mr Trump’s inauguration, the Washington Post reported, with Mr Erickson by her side.