Timeline of Suspected Russian Plot to Infiltrate NRA, GOP - NECN
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Timeline of Suspected Russian Plot to Infiltrate NRA, GOP

Maria Butina is suspected of being a foreign agent, seeking to infiltrate the GOP and NRA in order to build relationships with the American right

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    Timeline of Suspected Russian Plot to Infiltrate NRA, GOP
    AP Photo, File
    In this photo taken on Sunday, April 21, 2013, Maria Butina, leader of a pro-gun organization in Russia, speaks to a crowd during a rally in support of legalizing the possession of handguns in Moscow, Russia. Butina, a 29-year-old gun-rights activist, served as a covert Russian agent while living in Washington, gathering intelligence on American officials and political organizations and working to establish back-channel lines of communications for the Kremlin, federal prosecutors charged Monday, July 16, 2018.

    As Siberian gun rights activist Maria Butina faces a hearing in Washington, here is a look at the unusual path that led to her arrest.

    She's accused of working as an undeclared foreign agent, based on FBI suspicions that she and patron Alexander Torshin sought to infiltrate the NRA and build a long-term influence campaign with the American right. She has pleaded not guilty.

    2001

    Torshin is elected to serve in Russia's upper house of parliament, the Federation Council. He makes his first contact with the NRA.

    White House Insists Trump ‘Did Nothing Wrong’

    [NATL] White House Insists Trump ‘Did Nothing Wrong’

    In response to multiple questions about former campaign adviser Paul Manafort’s conviction and former fixer Michael Cohen’s guilty plea, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders repeated that the president “did nothing wrong.”

    (Published Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2018)

    2011

    Butina moves to Moscow, funded by an oligarch couple, and forms gun rights group Right to Bear Arms. Torshin and Butina meet at Moscow gun rally.

    2012

    Torshin presents draft bill on liberalizing gun sales, crafted in part by Butina. It fails miserably, lacking support from President Vladimir Putin.

    Torshin attends NRA convention in St. Louis, and goes to Nashville to observe the 2012 U.S. presidential election.

    2013

    Current and Former Diplomats to Testify in Impeachment Inquiry

    [NATL] Current and Former Diplomats to Testify in Impeachment Inquiry

    Fiona Hill, President Trump's former top adviser on Russia and Europe, and European Ambassador Gordon Sondland will appear before Congress this week to testify on efforts to pressure Ukraine to investigate Joe and Hunter Biden. NBC's Tracie Potts reports.

    (Published Monday, Oct. 14, 2019)

    Torshin attends NRA convention in Houston in May. Three months later, Spanish police try and fail to arrest Torshin for alleged connections to organized crime; Torshin denies wrongdoing.

    In October, an NRA delegation including then-chief David Keene visits Russia for a conference organized by Butina's group Right to Bear Arms. Butina meets Torshin's NRA contacts.

    2014

    Butina goes to the U.S. for the first time, and she and Torshin attend an NRA convention in Indianapolis. She resigns as leader of Right to Bear Arms.

    2015

    Torshin leaves parliament to become deputy governor of Russia's Central Bank; Butina becomes his assistant.

    Florida Men Tied to Giuliani, Ukraine Probe Arrested

    [NATL] Florida Men Tied to Giuliani, Ukraine Probe Arrested

    Two associates of President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Guiliani, involved in his efforts in Ukraine, were arrested Wednesday on charges of campaign finance violations. Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman were arrested at Dulles International Airport Wednesday evening while attempting to leave the country with one-way tickets. NBC's Alice Barr reports.

    (Published Friday, Oct. 11, 2019)

    Butina and Torshin attend an NRA convention in Nashville; Torshin says he met Donald Trump there. Butina questions Trump at Freedomfest gun show in Las Vegas.

    NRA delegation visits Moscow on Butina's invitation, meets Torshin, oligarchs, top officials.

    2016

    Butina and Torshin attend National Prayer Breakfast, and Torshin attends NRA convention in Louisville where he says he met Donald Trump Jr.

    Butina starts masters program at AU. She and Torshin exchange messages about contacts with Russian intelligence, and a "back channel" to U.S. right wing, according to the FBI.

    2017

    Backlash Against NBA Continues in China

    [NATL] Backlash Against NBA Continues in China

    More NBA events scheduled in China were cancelled Wednesday as backlash from a tweet sent by Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey supporting anti-government protests in Hong Kong created tension between the Chinese Government and the NBA.

    (Published Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2019)

    Butina, in Washington, joins celebrations of Trump's inauguration. She and Torshin attend National Prayer Breakfast.

    2018

    Senate questions Butina in April, and her apartment is searched by FBI. Torshin is hit with US sanctions. Butina is arrested July 15.