Accused Russian agent Maria Butina pleaded guilty to “knowingly engaging in conspiracy against the United State” in a Washington D.C. federal courtroom.
Butina reportedly ran her infiltration campaign while studying at American University, appearing at NRA events and asking then-candidate Donald Trump in a now-infamous question in Las Vegas about lifting sanctions on Russia, notes NBC News.
Butina will reportedly admit to acting under the direction of a Russian official (likely Alexander Torshin) “to establish unofficial lines of communication with Americans having power and influence over U.S. politics…for the benefit of the Russian Federation.”
Government documents say that Butina helped orchestrate a trip by NRA members to Moscow in December 2015 when sheset up a meeting between prominent NRA members and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
Butina reportedly told Torshin after the NRA meeting: “We should let them express their gratitude now, we will put pressure on them quietly later.”
Butina also organized a Russian delegation to the 2017 National Prayer Breakfast in Washington D.C., which is put on by conservative evangelicals.
Butina reportedly hosted influential people at U.S.-Russian “friendship dinners to cultivate lines of communications with individuals she believed would have the ear of the next U.S. presidential administration.”
(Sources: NBC News, MSNBC)