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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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‘You cannot expect anything but fascism’: Pedagogy theorist on how Trump ‘legitimated a culture of lying, cruelty and a collapse of social responsibility’

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The impeachment of Donald Trump appears to be a crisis without a history, at least a history that illuminates, not just comparisons with other presidential impeachments, but a history that provides historical lessons regarding its relationship to a previous age of tyranny that ushered in horrors associated with a fascist politics in the 1930s.  In the age of Trump, history is now used to divert and elude the most serious questions to be raised about the impeachment crisis. The legacy of earlier presidential impeachments, which include Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton, provide a comparative historical context for analysis and criticism. And while Trump’s impeachment is often defined as a more serious constitutional crisis given his attempt to use the power of the presidency to advance his personal political agenda, it is a crisis that willfully ignores the conditions that gave rise to Trump’s presidency along with its recurring pattern of authoritarian behavior, policies, and practices.  One result is that the impeachment process with its abundance of political theater and insipid media coverage treats Trump’s crimes as the endpoint of an abuse of power and an illegal act, rather than as a political action that is symptomatic of a long legacy of conditions that have led to the United States’ slide into the abyss of authoritarianism.

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Virginia capitol staff will be forced to confront armed protesters because of official’s ‘bravado’: strategist

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Gov. Ralph Northam has declared a state of emergency after white supremacists threatened to come to the state capitol in Richmond, Virginia, with weapons to protest new gun laws. Northam gave a "mandatory" order for every staffer in the executive branch and General Assembly to telework for safety.

The problem, according to Virginia-based political strategist Ben Tribbett, elected officials are still planning to go to the Capitol to attend committee hearings, putting other Capitol staff in danger.

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Trump is trying Middle East Peace plan 2.0 after the first one flopped

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President Donald Trump is scheduled to submit his second Middle East peace plan after the first one senior son-in-law Jared Kushner came up with didn't go over very well.

"We will get this done," Trump claimed in May 2017.

“We'll start a process which hopefully will lead to peace,” Trump said. “Over the course of my lifetime, I've always heard that perhaps the toughest deal to make is the deal between the Israelis and the Palestinians. Let's see if we can prove them wrong, okay?”

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