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Russian spy Maria Butina promoted anti-American militia groups while cozying up to NRA leaders

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NRA leadership embraced Russian double agent Maria Butina during the same period that she helped to arm anti-American groups overseas.

Butina actively supported Russian President Vladimir Putin’s military takeover of Crimea with a March 2014 news conference with a pro-Russian separatist group, and just four weeks later traveled to Indianapolis to meet with NRA executives, reported Mother Jones.

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She touted her Kremlin connections at the news conference, held with the leader of the pro-Russian separatist group the Crimean Front, and Butina also mentioned a civilian gun initiative by Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitri Rogozin.

The gun group intended to expand into Crimea, and separatist group leader Sergei Veselovsky asked whether civilians could be armed to fight off Ukrainian militants rumored to be heading into the region.

“We will try to help maximally, of course, on the legal front,” Butina assured the Crimean Front Leader. “We’ll tell people how to do it absolutely right, and how to behave in a self-defense scenario.”

Veselovsky had led a “Cossack self-defense unit” that just weeks earlier had stormed the offices of the independent Crimean Center for Investigative Journalism, and the journalists inside fled to Kiev as the militia group denounced them as “American agents.”

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The Crimean Front then took over the outlet, which was renamed “News Front” and is now reportedly funded by Russia security service, and push out anti-American content attacking U.S. sanctions and special counsel Robert Mueller.

Shortly after establishing public ties to the Crimean militia group, Butina was greeted as a VIP by top NRA officials at their annual conference in Indiana.

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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‘They love the meanest parts of him’: Conservative writer explains why evangelical Christians stick with Trump

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Ben Howe, a conservative writer and evangelical Christian who refuses to support Donald Trump, explained why fellow evangelicals continue to back the president despite his decidedly ungodly behavior.

Speaking with the Atlantic’s Emma Green about his new book The Immoral Majority, Howe — whose evangelical bona fides include attending pastor Jerry Falwell’s church as a kid — described evangelicals’ support for Trump, insisting “they love the meanest parts of him.”

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‘Mental midget’ Stephen Miller absolutely demolished in MSNBC blast at Trump’s ‘misfit’ advisers

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A black woman revealed over the weekend how President Donald Trump and right-wing media are straining her marriage.

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