While Trump’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin overshadowed most of the other news taking place for the day, the unsealing of charges by the DOJ against 29-year-old Maria Butina, certainly shouldn’t go unnoticed. In what may be one of the more explosive stories related to the Trump/Russia investigation thus far, Butina was charged with conspiring to act as an unregistered foreign agent in violation of Title 18, Section 371 of the United States Code. The criminal complaint and subsequent affidavit allege that she helped set up a back channel between what appears to be the GOP and the Kremlin, via the NRA.
One of the more interesting tidbits to be found in the affidavit supporting Butina’s charges, are allegations that Butina, along with the Kremlin and NRA-connected Russian politician, Alexander Torshin, convinced John Bolton to go on Russian TV to promote Butina’s gun rights group, ‘ The Right to Bear Arms’.
In 2013, Bolton, who is now Trump’s National Security Advisor with a top security clearance, worked with Butina, who is now alleged to be a Russian spy, to create a video promoting the right to bear arms in Russia. The video, which can be seen below, shows Bolton addressing and expressing his wishes for the Russian people:
“Thank you for this opportunity to address the Russian people on the 20th anniversary of the adoption of the Russian Constitution,” Bolton says. “Were the Russian national government to grant a broader right to bear arms to its people, it would be creating a partnership with its citizens that would better allow for the protection of mothers, children and families without in any way compromising the integrity of the Russian state. That is my wish and my advice to your great people.”
While interacting and following orders from an alleged Russian spy may not be a crime, especially if Bolton didn’t understand what Butina or Torshin’s intent really was, it certainly makes one wonder if Bolton should be the head of Trump’s National Security team, with the highest security clearance available.
In March of this year, it was reported by NPR that Bolton made this video at the direction of then President of the NRA, David Keene.