Accused Russian Agent Maria Butina Flips – Will Plead Guilty to Conspiracy
Accused Russia agent Maria Butina will plead guilty to conspiracy, and cooperate with all U.S. authorities, including federal, state, and local governments. She is accused of “developing a covert influence operation in the United States,” ABC News reports.
Butina is the supposed Russian gun rights activist who used that cover “to establish unofficial lines of communication with Americans having power and influence over U.S. politics,” the plea deal says.
The plea agreement suggests she had a longtime romantic relationship with an American, Republican operative Paul Erickson. She also allegedly conspired with Russian Central Bank deputy governor Alexander Torshin, who is also a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Under Torshin’s direction, Butina “sought to establish unofficial lines of communication with Americans having power and influence over U.S. politics,” the plea agreement states, according to ABC News.
The Daily Beast notes that “Butina is the first Russian national since the 2016 election to plead guilty to a crime connected to efforts to influence American politics.”
Butina “built relationships in the upper echelons of the American gun rights community; arranged for NRA leaders to travel to Moscow; and bragged that she was a channel between Team Trump and the Kremlin, as The Daily Beast first revealed.”
Image by Pavel Starikov via Flickr and a CC license
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Prosecutors ‘Have Throw the Kitchen Sink at the Trump Org’: MSNBC Expert Breaks Down Why 15-Count Indictment Is Huge
MSNBC’s chief legal correspondent broke down the key take-aways after Manhattan prosecutors unsealed a 15-count indictment against the Trump Organization and its chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg.
“What has stood out to you so far from what you’ve been able to gather?” Ayman Mohyeldin asked Ari Melber.
“They have thrown the kitchen sink at the Trump Organization and Allen Weisselberg. This is very bad news for the Trump Organization because the D.A. has taken an aggressive tact indicting, the entire Trump Organization, in references to the payroll company and others. So, if you were the company hoping to pin this on the employee or get out of it, as far as the D.A. is concerned, game over there — they’re going after the whole company.”
“Highlight number two, there are 15 counts here,” he said. “Now we have 15 counts, including larceny, tax fraud, false statements, filing false instruments, falsifying business records. They are taking, what the D.A. argues was a conspiracy to intentionally and habitually defraud the government, steal money and pay people off the books. That is the language of the indictment. They’re alleging that went on for 15 years.”
Image via Trump Organization
Cohen to Testify Trump Knew Roger Stone ‘Was Talking With Julian Assange’ About Wikileaks’ Drop of Hacked Emails
During public testimony on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, former Donald Trump “fixer” Michael Cohen will drop a bombshell on the alleged conspiracy during the 2016 campaign, Politico reports.
“I am ashamed because I know what Mr. Trump is. He is a racist. He is a conman. He is a cheat,” Cohen will reportedly testify.
“He was a presidential candidate who knew that Roger Stone was talking with Julian Assange about a WikiLeaks drop of Democratic National Committee emails,” he will reportedly continue.
“In July 2016, days before the Democratic convention, I was in Mr. Trump’s office when his secretary announced that Roger Stone was on the phone. Mr. Trump put Mr. Stone on the speakerphone. Mr. Stone told Mr. Trump that he had just gotten off the phone with Julian Assange and that Mr. Assange told Mr. Stone that, within a couple of days, there would be a massive dump of emails that would damage Hillary Clinton’s campaign,” Cohen will reportedly testify.
“Mr. Trump responded by stating to the effect of ‘wouldn’t that be great,’” the reported testimony continues.
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