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Another Russian indicted — key link between the National Rifle Association and Kremlin jailed in Washington, DC

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Federal prosecutors unsealed an indictment on Monday against a Russian national who is a key link to the National Rifle Association.

Mariia Butina, 29, was arrested on Sunday in Washington, DC, but her indictment was sealed, being revealed after President Donald Trump’s Helsinki summit with Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin.

The National Security Section of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and the National Security Division of the U.S. Department of Justice are prosecuting the case.

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Alexander Torshin, the head of Russia’s central bank, and Butima met with Donald Trump, Jr. at the NRA’s 2016 convention.

In April, Russian expert Alina Polyakova told CNN it appeared she was running a gun-based influence campaign in the United States.

“We could give them the benefit of the doubt and say this is just a natural interest and affinity; this guy Torshin and this woman Butina are just gun aficionados,” Polyakova noted. “To me this seems like part and parcel of an influence operation.”

In a press release announcing the unsealing of the indictments, the Department of Justice seemed to reveal Torshin’s involvement by saying Butima “worked at the direction of a high-level official in the Russian government who was previously a member of the legislature of the Russian Federation and later became a top official at the Russian Central Bank. This Russian official was sanctioned by the U.S. Department of the Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control in April 2018.”

The DOJ also seemed to refer to the NRA by noting part of Butina’s role “as an agent of Russia inside the United States” who was “infiltrating organizations having influence in American politics, for the purpose of advancing the interests of the Russian Federation.”

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Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers, U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia Jessie K. Liu, and Nancy McNamara, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office announced the charges.

If convicted, Butina could receive five years in prison.


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BUSTED: Trump said no one saw pandemic coming — but his own officials admitted it kept them up at night

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President Donald Trump has tried to claim that the coronavirus pandemic came out of nowhere and that his administration couldn't have possibly been better prepared for it.

However, CNN reports that past statements from his own administration's officials show that the threat of a pandemic hammering the United States was long seen as a danger that the country was not equipped to handle.

"Of course, the thing that people ask: 'What keeps you most up at night in the biodefense world?' Pandemic flu, of course," said Trump HHS Secretary Alex Azar nearly one year ago.

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Arkansas church vows to continue services: ‘Jesus died with COVID-19 so that you didn’t have to bear it’

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An Arkansas church intends to hold church services despite recommendations from state officials to limit gatherings as part of the fight against the coronavirus.

Awaken Church, in Jonesboro, vowed in a Facebook post to continue holding services in defiance of a Health Department directive banning gatherings of 10 or more, and after churches in other parts of the country were the source of community outbreaks, reported Newsweek.

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2020 Election

Trump’s path to re-election ‘smashed to splinters’ as his only achievement is swallowed up by the pandemic: report

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In a piece for Politico, Ben White writes that Donald Trump was going into November's election with only one achievement under his belt -- a healthy economy -- and now he has nothing left to run if he wants to be re-elected.

With all of the gains made in the stock market long gone due to the coronavirus pandemic and the collapse of oil prices, White claims that the president's campaign strategy lies in tatters.

"The fundamental pillars of Donald Trump’s presidency — a hot economy, strong job growth and a rocking stock market — are all being smashed to splinters by the ravaging coronavirus, which has shuttered much of the nation and now officially ended a streak of 113 months of job gains dating back to the end of the Great Recession a decade ago," he wrote before noting the explosion of unemployment claims -- over ten million so far -- that has the country reeling.

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