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    Mariia Butina, leader of a pro-gun organization, speaks on October 8, 2013 during a press conference in Moscow

    US Senator Seeks Testimony From NRA Over Russian National Butina

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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - National Rifle Association (NRA) officials must testify under oath before Congress in connection with the investigation over Russia's alleged meddling in the 2016 US presidential elections over NRA links with Russian national Maria Butina accused of acting as an unregistered foreign agent, US Senator Richard Blumenthal said.

    "Complex shell companies, suspicious money transfers, links to Putin confidants and Russian oligarchs — mounting evidence Maria Butina and others may have used the NRA to try to funnel Russian [money] to the Trump campaign," Blumenthal wrote on Twitter. "NRA officials must testify — in public and under oath."

    READ MORE: Maria Butina's Father Opens Up on Her Life in US

    Butina was arrested in Washington DC last week on charges of acting as a Russian foreign agent, an accusation she has denied and pleaded not guilty. Butina has been denied bail and remains in custody for allegedly being a flight risk. She faces up to 15 years in jail.

    Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zaharova said Butina was detained right before the summit between US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki in an effort to minimize the positive outcomes of the meeting. Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called for a swift release of the Russian national, stressing that the US authorities arrested Butina "on the basis of fabricated charges."

    US media reported Butina used the NRA to allegedly gain access to the Republican Party and to further interests of Russian officials.

    The NRA is widely considered the most influential US gun-rights lobby and was a strong supporter of President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign for the presidency.

    READ MORE: 'Farce': US Authorities Trying to 'Break' Butina – Russian Ambassador

    Russian officials have repeatedly denied the meddling allegations saying they are groundless and invented to deflect public attention from actual instances of election fraud, corruption as well as other pressing issues.


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    gun control, detention, NRA, Maria Butina, United States, Russia
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