The National Prayer Breakfast, a gathering of influential conservative elite, may have been the target of Russian agents, according to a review of federal records by The Young Turks.
A Christian charity associated with the event also reported expenses linked to Russians who attended the breakfast in 2017 and in other years, the TYT reports.
According to a court case against alleged Russian operative Maria Butina, the young Kremlin agent worked with a handler, Alexander Torshin, to infiltrate powerful right-wing institutions—such as the Prayer Breakfast.
“[I]n furtherance of the conspiracy,” Butina’s plea deal says, “Butina helped [Torshin] organize a Russian delegation to the 2017 National Prayer Breakfast… [Torshin] directed Butina to include certain people.”
The Breakfast's organizer, Doug Coe, has powerful allies on both sides of the political aisle. Hillary Clinton once said Coe is “a genuinely loving spiritual mentor and guide to anyone, regardless of party or faith.”
As the federal government continues to build its case against Butina, her strategy becomes more apparent: to meet influential conservatives through backdoor channels.
"As an alternative,” her plea deal says, “Butina suggested that Russia could use unofficial channels of communication to the same end.”
The National Prayer Breakfast—as well as the NRA—were both targeted.