Published: Mon, August 06, 2018

Former Trump campaign aide was in alleged Russian agent's social network

Former Trump campaign aide was in alleged Russian agent's social network

He also invited her to his birthday party in late October 2016.

Federal prosecutors accuse Butina of conspiring with two American citizens, one of whom she cohabited with, and a top Russian official to influence USA policy toward Russia by infiltrating the National Rifle Association gun rights group and other conservative special interest groups potentially influential on the Trump administration.

There has been a fair amount of reporting on the interactions Butina had with American political figures, including the time she asked then-candidate Donald Trump a question about Russian Federation during a public event.

The efforts to form ties between the two countries involved two Americans identified in court papers only as USA persons 1 and 2, but who have since been identified as a longtime GOP operative with whom she was living, Paul Erickson, and a patron of conservative causes from Florida, George O'Neill.

Butina's attorney, Robert Driscoll, says the emails show her eagerness to network with Americans. "But the evidence is clear that there wasn't any significant contact".

According to Gordon, he met Butina at a party in Washington, September 2016 and exchanged a series of messages after GOP operative Paul Erickson followed up to connect them more formally.

Butina is a guns-rights activist who founded a Russian gun-rights group, the Right to Bear Arms.

Moscow claims that a Russian woman arrested in the United States on charges of acting as an unregistered foreign agent for Russia is being mistreated in jail. Gordon has not been interviewed by any investigators for Mueller or the Federal Bureau of Investigation about his contacts with Mariia Butina, he said.

Gordon and Driscoll both insist that there was no romantic involvement between Butina and Gordon, and that their contact stopped after Gordon's birthday party.

Gordon told ABC News Saturday that he was interviewed a year ago by the special counsel in the investigation of Russian influence over the 2016 campaign but he never testified before the Mueller grand jury, despite his interactions with George Papadopoulos, whose contacts with Russian agents appear to have triggered an FBI counterintelligence probe that year. Gordon, a Trump campaign national security advisor.

Butina, 29, was arrested in Washington on July 15 and the court chose to put her to custody until the hearings scheduled for September 10.

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