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WATCH: Maddow wonders if Maria Butina may be released to Russia as part of a ‘spy swap’

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MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow explained on Wednesday how accused Russian spy Maria Butina could possibly be released as part of a “spy swap.”

Butina was arrested by the FBI in July and charged with being an unregistered spy.

There had been court hearing scheduled in her case for tomorrow, but Maddow reported that it had been delayed to give the parties more time to resolve the case without a trial.

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“Obviously they have arrested and indicted her and put her in jail and plan to put her on trial,” Maddow noted. “It’s possible that the resolution of the case will be a plea deal, where she pleads guilty to something in exchange for leniency in other ways.”

“Some observers have even speculated that Maria Butina might, possibly, have her case resolved as part of a spy swap of some kind with the Russian government,” she continued.

“And the Kremlin has taken a keen interest in the Maria Butina case, they have done a lot of publicity around it and advocacy around it,” she noted. “They have been very, very active, both publicly advocating and advocating with the U.S. government on her behalf.”

“I don’t know what they are offering the U.S. government on her behalf. I don’t know if the U.S. government is in the market for any sort of spy swap with the Russians at the moment,” she continued. “But it not impossible to imagine that her case may be resolved with something dramatic like that.”

As Maddow was on air, the judge scheduled a Thursday morning telephone conference call in the matter.

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Buffalo has a long history of protecting cops from criminal charges: report

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On Saturday, The Daily Beast documented the recent history of use of force in the Buffalo Police Department, which is reeling from controversy as two officers face assault charges for shoving a 75-year-old protester to the ground.

"As shocking as this all may be to outsiders, the shoving of demonstrator Martin Gugino and the defiant response of officers to an effort to discipline two of their own is indicative of the state of police affairs in Buffalo," wrote Jim Heaney. "Has been for a long time, not that you have to go back too far to find other episodes of brutality that have been captured on video."

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Internet disgusted after Buffalo first responders cheer cops charged with assaulting 75-year-old protester

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Commenters on Twitter expressed both contempt and disgust for Buffalo firefighters and police officers who turned out in front of Buffalo City Court to support two suspended police officers with applause and cheering.

Moments after officers Aaron Torglaski and Robert McCabe were charged with second-degree assault and then released without having to post bail, they were greeted as heroes outside the courthouse.

After a video was posted showing the celebration, commenters on Twitter vented at cops and firefighters for defending the two officers who assaulted the 75-year-old man who had to be rushed to a hospital after they shoved him to the ground where he sustained a head injury.

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Donald Trump’s lurch toward fascism is backfiring spectacularly

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Welcome to another edition of What Fresh Hell?, Raw Story’s roundup of news items that might have become controversies under another regime, but got buried – or were at least under-appreciated – due to the daily firehose of political pratfalls, unhinged tweet storms and other sundry embarrassments coming out of the current White House.

During the 2016 campaign, as Donald Trump railed against "Mexican rapists" and other "criminal aliens," pollsters found that the share of Americans who said that immigrants worked hard and made a positive contribution to our society increased significantly, and noticed a similar decline in the share who said they take citizens' jobs and burden our social safety net. After Trump was elected and began pursuing his Muslim ban, the share of respondents who held a positive view of Islam also increased pretty dramatically. I'm not aware of any polling of the general public about transgender troops serving in the military before Trump decided to discharge them, but Gallup found that 71 percent of respondents opposed his position after he did.

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