Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs accused the United States of forcing Russian national Maria Butina to falsely confess to what it described on Wednesday as the ridiculous charge of her being a Russian agent.
Butina pleaded guilty in a U.S. court on Thursday to a single conspiracy charge in a deal with prosecutors.
The 30-year-old Siberian admitted working with a top Russian official to infiltrate a powerful U.S. gun rights group and to making inroads with American conservative activists and politicians as an agent for Moscow.
Maria Zakharova, a spokeswoman for the Russian foreign ministry, said on Wednesday that Butina had been coerced into making a false confession.
“Butina confirmed that she had done a deal with U.S. investigators and confessed to being a foreign agent,” Zakharova told a news briefing in Moscow.
“Having created unbearable conditions for her and threatening her with a long jail sentence, she was literally forced to sign up to absolutely ridiculous charges.”
Butina’s legal team and U.S. prosecutors face a 5 p.m. deadline to submit legal filings regarding their positions on the case at the U.S. District Court in Washington. A status hearing in the case is scheduled for Feb. 12, 2019.
Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin in Moscow and Susan Heavey in Washington; Writing by Andrew Osborn; Editing by Tom Balmforth
Top DHS aide resigns amid Trump anger that new anti-immigration plan didn’t get better TV ratings: report
The Trump White House has long been plagued by record turnover and now Axios is reporting that yet another Trump administration official has found himself out of a job.
According to Axios, Andrew Meehan, a top aide to acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan, stepped down this week amid tensions between DHS and the Trump White House.
New images from asteroid probe offer clues on planet formation
Photographs snapped by a shoebox-sized probe that explored the near-Earth asteroid Ryugu have offered new clues about its composition, insights that will help scientists understand the formation of our solar system.
The German-French Mobile Asteroid Surface Scout (MASCOT) hitched a ride on Japan's Hayabusa2 spaceship, touching down on the 900-meter (3,000 feet) wide asteroid, whose orbit lies mostly between Earth and Mars, on October 3, 2018.
Ryugu's gravity is 66,500 times weaker than Earth's, and the forward motion of wheels would have launched MASCOT back into space.
Ex-Trump official bashes White House ‘apologists’ who haven’t quit yet: ‘There’s not much hope for them’
A report on the silence coming from first daughter Ivanka Trump and her White House advisor husband Jared Kushner after Donald Trump attacked American Jews turned to the future of White House aides who are either complicit in the president's policies or stand idly by as he lurches from controversy to controversy.
In an interview with CNN's Brianna Keilar, former Trump adviser J.W. Verret pointed out there are still some "adults in the room" with Trump, but CNN's Kaitlan Collins first pointed out that -- as of late -- Ivanka and Kushner are not among them.
"This fits a pattern that we've seen from Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump at times during times when the administration tried to repeal parts of Obamacare, and of course, the big one the president has made about Jewish people who are supporting Democrats," Collins explained. "Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump are both Orthodox Jews. They've been involved with the president on many things. but neither of them have said anything publicly about the president's comments. and when we asked the white house have they been advising the president privately on this, the White House did not get back to us."