By Mark Sumner / Daily Kos
On Monday, Russian pro-gun activist and lifetime NRA member Maria Butina, was arrested on charges of conspiracy to defraud the United States and acting as a covert agent of the Russian government.
The indictment against Butina, on the same day that Donald Trump so weakly acquiesced to Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, came after years in which the Russian agent openly presented herself as a gateway between Republican causes and Russia. During that time she not only supported the candidacy of Trump, but worked with other prominent members of the GOP, promoted Republican visits to Moscow, and secured pro-Russian statements from right-wing politicians up and down the line.
Butina has been a prominent and vocal presence in the link between the National Rifle Association and Russian pro-gun groups. But she has also inserted herself into other lobbying efforts, both for guns and for Russia. That includes open claims that she was a conduit between the Russian government and the campaign of Donald Trump. [Read more…]