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New details revealed about a mysterious Russian who funds Maria Butina’s defense

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Maria Butina, the Russian woman who’s alleged to have infiltrated gun rights and conservative circles to sway the outcome of the 2016 election, is still in custody awaiting her sentencing. She’s been in jail since July. According the Washington Post, Butina is cooperating with authorities.

Atlantic staff writer Natasha Bertrand dug up the source of funding for Butina’s legal bills, a 30-year-old Russian man named Alexander Ionov.

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Ionov is raising money for Butina’s defense through a group called the Anti-Globalization Movement. The website, peppered with glossy photos of Butina, purports to tell “Maria’s story.”

“Help me change my situation,” it reads in Russian.  Freelance journalist Dean Sterling Jones first unearthed the site and detailed Ionov’s history and potential Kremlin ties.

Writing on his blog Shooting the Messenger, Jones observes that the group that’s hosting the site for Butina’s legal bills got a Russian presidential grant of 3.5 million rubles (approximately $53,000) to bring members of Texas and California secessionist groups to a Russian conference in September of 2016.

“[AGMR] supports the full sovereignty of nation-states including the sovereignty of Russia as an independent player on the political, economic and cultural world stage,” reads AGMR’s mission statement, Jones notes. “The movement aims to promote all aspects of the national security and traditional moral values. It opposes the attempts to impose a ‘new world order’ and the disastrous unification, which might result in the emergence of a single mega-totalitarian world state.”

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Ionov has denied working for the Kremlin. But he’s linked to the Kremlin in various ways, including holding a position on the public council of Moscow’s interior ministry. He also represented Russian hackers accused of promoting Catalonian independence from Spain.

He recently defended Butina as a “human rights activist…who did not (collaborate) with Russian state bodies.”

 

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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.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



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Robbery sends shoppers at California Westfield Topanga Mall fleeing in panic of possible mass shooting

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Americans are running scared as mass shootings erupt all over the United States. The Los Angeles police are responding to a possible shooting that hasn't been verified. Local news reports that it could have been a robbery, but it was enough to send patrons into sheltering in place at the Westfield Topanga Mall. The mall is in a northwestern suburb of Los Angeles and to the east of Thousand Oaks.

ABC7 News reported that it was an organized group of robbers who tried to do a "Smash and grab" at a Neiman Marcus store in Canoga Park.

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Trump told his administration to check if he can stop hurricanes with a nuclear bomb

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President Donald Trump's lack of knowledge about science prompted another embarrassing moment when the U.S. president said that we should simply "nuke hurricanes" to solve the problem.

Another hurricane is headed toward Puerto Rico this week. The island is still recovering from being hit twice in 2017. Trump's solution, however, wasn't entirely thought out, however, Axios reported Sunday.

"I got it. I got it. Why don't we nuke them?" Trump said during a hurricane briefing at the White House, sources said. "They start forming off the coast of Africa, as they're moving across the Atlantic, we drop a bomb inside the eye of the hurricane, and it disrupts it. Why can't we do that?"

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Trump allies acquiring ‘dirt’ on journalists to take them down during the 2020 election

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President Donald Trump's war against the media has taken a next step. According to The New York Times, Trump's allies have been compiling information on reporters at CNN, The Washington Post and The New York Times to strike back because the president believes they "aggressively investigated" him.

The information was revealed Sunday using information disclosed by associates of conservative Arthur Schwartz, who is spearheading the project. Schwartz is an adviser to Donald Trump Jr. and previously worked with Steve Bannon.

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