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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.”

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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.”

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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EU ambassador Sondland criticized Trump over Ukraine efforts: ‘Inviting a foreign government to interfere US election would be wrong’

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Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, will tell Congress that he criticized President Donald Trump over his efforts to pressure Ukraine into investigating a political rival.

The Trump megadonor-turned-diplomat appeared Thursday before three House committees to discuss his role in a White House scheme to enlist a foreign government to dig up campaign dirt against Joe Biden as Ukraine awaited congressionally approved military aid.

According to his prepared statement, Sondland will tell lawmakers that Ukraine was expected to announce "anti-corruption" investigations against the former vice president and his son Hunter Biden as a "one of the pre-conditions for securing a White House meeting" for its president Volodymyr Zelensky.

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Giuliani’s Ukraine henchman once held a gun to man’s head and threatened to kill him if he told police: report

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Lev Parnas, one of Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani's henchmen who tried to help him pressure the Ukrainian government, has a long history of making death threats and associating with fraudsters, according to a new report from Politico.

According to Politico, a restraining order filed by a man who was once Parnas's landlord back in 2008 claimed that Parnas threatened to kill him after he asked him to vacate the apartment that he was renting.

"If you call the cops, they are not going to find you ever," Parnas told the man, according to the complaint.

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‘Increasingly likely’ Bolton will be hauled before House investigators over Trump’s Ukraine fiasco: report

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According to The Daily Beast, President Donald Trump's former National Security Adviser John Bolton is "increasingly likely" to be subpoenaed by Democratic investigators in the House as part of the impeachment proceedings into Trump's dealings with Ukraine.

Bolton, a longtime neoconservative war hawk, served in the role after Trump fired Gen. H. R. McMaster, but often clashed with the president on matters of national security and left the administration on bitter terms.

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