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Russian spy Maria Butina details how she played Republicans and conservative groups on behalf of Kremlin

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Accused Russian spy Maria Butina revealed she was cooperating with U.S. investigators when she pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges.

The 30-year-old Russian national pleaded guilty Thursday to one count of conspiring to act as an agent for the Russian government in the United States.

Butina, a former graduate student at American University in Washington, D.C., cultivated close ties to the National Rifle Association and the conservative movement.

She admitted to conspiring with Republican operative Paul Erickson and a Russian official, believed to be banker Alexander Torshin, to establish unofficial links between political figures in the U.S. and Russia that would benefit the Kremlin.

Torshin reportedly sought a meeting between Russian president Vladimir Putin and then-GOP candidate Donald Trump, and he met with Donald Trump Jr. in May 2016 at an NRA dinner in Louisville, Kentucky.

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Court documents show Butina worked to established ties with both the NRA and the Republican Party, and she helped set up a visit to Moscow by NRA members in December 2015.

She also organized a Russian delegation to the 2017 National Prayer Breakfast in Washington and hosted “friendship dinners” to establish closer ties to American conservatives and Russian officials.

Butina can also be seen on video asking then-candidate Trump about U.S. sanctions against Russia during a July 2015 Freedom Festival event in Las Vegas.

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Prosecutors during the plea hearing said Butina’s cooperation was “ongoing.”

She will remain jailed until her sentencing, and Butina faces deportation after serving a prison term.


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Congress should ask Mueller these specific questions about Trump’s involvement with Russia: Conservative columnist

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Conservative Never-Trump columnist Jennifer Rubin outlined the essential questions that Democrats should ask special counsel Robert Mueller in an op-ed for the Washington Post.

"Rather than engage in the normal scattershot questioning punctuated by speechifying, the House Judiciary Committee should assign its able attorney Norman Eisen to conduct the questioning," proposed Rubin. "Members could then follow up with additional questions.'

One question she proposed asking: "Mr. Mueller, the attorney general said you did not find 'collusion.' However, you did not look for collusion. Please explain what you looked for and how that differs from [Attorney General William] Barr’s assertion that you essentially cleared President Trump of collusion?"

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‘Is Ireland one of those countries you want to invade’: Trump once ‘joked’ John Bolton wants ‘to nuke them all’

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Even President Donald Trump recognizes that John Bolton is a war-loving hawk, Axios reported Sunday.

In a conversation that included the Irish prime minister, Trump asked Bolton, "John, is Ireland one of those countries you want to invade?"

The scene was during the annual St. Patrick's Day visit. Typically it's a photo-op, a handshake, and men in green ties with a shamrock sprig in their jacket pocket. Trump managed to turn it into an awkward scene for everyone.

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Mueller probably won’t be giving new information — here’s why that can still sink Trump

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Former special counsel Robert Mueller will appear in Congress this week to testify for two hours about the report he authored on the case of Russian collusion.

The hearing is set for Wednesday, though Mueller has said that he won't have any additional information other than what is in his report. A Washington Post report used examples of past Mueller testimony to outline what can be anticipated. The reality, however, is that regardless of whether Mueller sticks to the report or not, he'll deliver enough to put the president in a difficult situation.

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