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Maria Butina Guilty Plea ‘Bodes Ill’ For Donald Trump Jr., Senator Says, Trump Jr. Met Russian Spy In May 2016

Jonathan Vankin - Author
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Dec. 14 2018, Updated 9:24 a.m. ET

Thursday’s guilty plea by admitted Russian agent Maria Butina, as the Washington Post reported, and the 30-year-old Russian’s agreement to tell federal prosecutors everything she knows about Russia’s plan to influence the 2016 presidential election, “bodes ill” for one person in particular, according to a high-ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which is investigating Russian election interference. That person is Donald Trump’s oldest son, Donald Trump Jr.

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“Butina’s plea represents the first Russian convicted & cooperating in the Mueller probe. Devastating news for President Trump & the NRA — Butina may know details of whether & how the Russians funneled money into the 2016 campaign to help elect Trump,” Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal wrote on his Twitter account Thursday. “Butina’s cooperation bodes especially ill for Trump Jr., who spoke with her handler, Alexander Torshin, at the NRA convention. She may have facts that raise questions about his truthfulness when he spoke about Russia before the Senate Judiciary Committee.”

Trump Jr. met with Butina at a National Rifle Association convention in May of 2016, and even posed for a picture with her, as seen below. He also met with Russian banker Alexander Torshin, who according to the United States vs. Maria Butina plea agreement was Butina’s direct boss. But on November 30, Torshin, 65, suddenly “retired” from Russia’s central bank, according to Reuters, and has apparently since disappeared.

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Butina in her guilty plea admitted that, acting on behalf of Russia, she infiltrated the NRA in order to gain access to influential Republicans and guide United States policy toward Russia, as Vanity Fair reported.

Butina first appeared at a major Republican event in July of 2015 just one month after Trump announced his candidacy for president when she attended a Trump campaign event and asked the then-candidate a question about U.S. sanctions against Russia, as Newsweek recounted. Trump called on her and answered, saying that he did not believe sanctions against Russia for its military actions against Ukraine were necessary.

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