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Accused Russian agent Maria Butina pleads guilty to coordinating with Russians — and will cooperate with prosecutors

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Accused Russian agent Maria Butina appeared poised this week to plead guilty in the case, after her lawyers and prosecutors filed a joint motion asking a federal judge on Monday to schedule a change of plea hearing this week.

The filing comes after Butina’s attorney and prosecutors revealed last month they were actively in talks to settle the case.

Butina had previously pleaded not guilty to charges that she was acting as an agent of the Russian government and conspiring to take actions on Russia’s behalf.

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Specifically, prosecutors have accused the former American University graduate student of working with a Russian official and two U.S. citizens to try to infiltrate the National Rifle Association, a powerful lobby group that has close ties to Republican politicians including President Donald Trump, and influence American foreign policy toward Russia.

Butina’s lawyers previously identified the Russian official with whom she was accused of working as Alexander Torshin, a deputy governor of Russia’s central bank who was hit with U.S. Treasury Department sanctions in April.

They identified one of the two Americans mentioned in the criminal complaint as being Paul Erickson, a conservative U.S. political activist who was dating Butina. Neither Erickson nor Torshin have been accused by prosecutors of wrongdoing.

Butina has been in jail since her arrest in July.

In the joint motion filed Monday morning, prosecutors and defense lawyers proposed holding a hearing sometime between Tuesday and Thursday of this week.

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Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch; Editing by Susan Thomas


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READ IT: More than 1,100 former US Department of Justice officials tell Bill Barr to resign now

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More than 1,100 former US Department of Justice officials called on Attorney General William P. Barr on Sunday to step down after he intervened last week to lower the Justice Department’s sentencing recommendation for President Trump’s longtime friend and political crony Roger J. Stone Jr.

“It is unheard of for the Department’s top leaders to overrule line prosecutors, who are following established policies, in order to give preferential treatment to a close associate of the President, as Attorney General Barr did in the Stone case,” wrote the former Justice Department attorneys in their Sunday letter. “It is even more outrageous for the Attorney General to intervene as he did here — after the President publicly condemned the sentencing recommendation that line prosecutors had already filed in court.”

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Trump campaign forced to delete #Daytona500 Air Force One photo because it was from 15 years ago

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Air Force One in flight.

Another oops moment happened for President Donald Trump's campaign manager stole George W. Bush's photo from the Daytona 500 in 2004.

Tweeting Sunday, Brad Parscale proclaimed, "[email protected] won the #Daytona500 before the race even started."

Except, it wasn't him. As many people pointed out, the image was from 16 years ago by photographer Jonathan Ferrey, CNN reported. Parscale was forced to delete it and tweet it out again with an underwhelming photo.

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‘America — y’all gotta wake up’: MSNBC panel cracks up laughing at Trump bizarre claims about the border wall

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Last month, President Donald Trump's border wall collapsed due to weather problems. A new decision was made that in certain areas, Trump's wall must be a kind of "gate" that will remain open during months known for heavy flooding.

After weeks of ignoring the news, Trump finally found something to say about the catastrophe during a press conference where he rambled about different ways that people have tried to get drugs over the wall using a sling-shot.

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