Tag Archives: Maria

Trump 'tried to cut off' disaster relief money for Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria

Trump 'tried to cut off' disaster relief money for Puerto Rico after Hurricane MariaPresident Trump attempted to cut off federal disaster aid to Puerto Rico, it has been reported, which may have prompted deputy Housing and Urban Development secretary Pam Patenaude to resign. In October, the president inaccurately tweeted that the Puerto Rican government was planning on using the disaster relief money for Hurricane Maria to pay off old debts. Although untrue, Mr Trump then reportedly attempted to prevent disaster-relief money from going to Puerto Rico, and instead requested the funds be directed to Texas and Florida, according to a Washington Post article detailing Ms Patenaude’s exit from the White House.



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Plea deal by Russian agent Maria Butina describes 2016 influence campaign

Plea deal by Russian agent Maria Butina describes 2016 influence campaignRussian agent Maria Butina’s plea deal includes a description of the “Diplomacy Project” she ran, under the direction of Putin ally Alexander Torshin, to influence American policy leading up to the 2016 election.



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Accused Russian agent Maria Butina pleads guilty to attempting to sway US policy

Accused Russian agent Maria Butina pleads guilty to attempting to sway US policyA Russian woman has admitted to acting as an agent for the Kremlin to get close to the Republican party in an effort to influence US policies.  Maria Butina, 30, pleaded guilty to a single charge of conspiracy in a court in Washington on Thursday, admitting to working under the direction of a top Russian official to infiltrate the National Rifle Association (NRA), a powerful gun rights group closely aligned with senior Republican politicians. She is the first Russian citizen to be convicted of working to shape US policy in the run up and through the 2016 election campaign, agreeing to co-operate with prosecutors for less prison time. Appearing before Judge Tanya Chutkan, she admitted to conspiring to work with Alexander Torshin, a former deputy governor of Russia's central bank, and two US citizens as a Russian agent from 2015 until her 2018 arrest.  Butina, a former graduate student at American University in Washington who publicly advocated for gun rights, was arrested in July and has been held in jail without bail ever since.  Maria Butina was said to be directed by Alexander Torshin, previously described as Vladimir Putin's "emissary" Credit: AP She initially pleaded not guilty to the charges against her but in the last week it was revealed she had reversed course and agreed to co-operate with prosecutors.   Her aim was to make contacts with officials at the NRA, conservative figures and 2016 presidential candidates in order to set up unofficial back channels with high-ranking American politicians. Butina is known to have met with the president's son, Donald Trump Jnr, during one of the NRA's conventions as well as reportedly hosting a party in Washington attended by Trump campaign aides in November 2016. Prosecutors told the court that Butina drafted a March 2015 "Diplomacy Project" that called for establishing unofficial channels of communication between high-ranking American politicians in order to help advance Russia's interests. In this courtroom sketch, Maria Butina, left, is shown next to her attorney Robert Driscoll Credit: AP To carry out the plan, Butina requested $ 125,000 (£98,000) from a Russian billionaire to attend conferences and set up "separate meetings with interested parties" such as other Russian businessmen or people with the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, they added. The prosecutors said Butina invited "powerful members" of the NRA for a visit to Moscow where they met with high-level Russian officials. Apparent photos of the NRA Moscow trip are posted on her social media accounts. After the visit, according to court records, she sent a Russian official a message apparently referencing the NRA saying, "We should let them express their gratitude now, we will put pressure on them quietly later." The alleged Russian agent was arrested in July Credit: Reuters Butina also hosted "friendship dinners" in the hope of establishing ties with people who "would have the ear of the next US presidential administration," prosecutors said. After the 2016 election, she proposed creating a dialogue with President Donald Trump's advisors, but the Russian official told her he did not think the foreign affairs ministry would "go for it," prosecutors said. The actions occurred during the same time period that US intelligence agencies have concluded Russia engaged in a campaign of propaganda and hacking to sow discord during the 2016 presidential race and boost Mr Trump's chances against Democratic rival Hillary Clinton. Butina was a gun rights activist Butina's lawyers previously identified the Russian official as Alexander Torshin, who was a deputy governor of Russia's central bank and was targeted with US Treasury Department sanctions in April.  One of the two Americans referenced in the prosecution's case was Paul Erickson, an conservative political activist who was romantically linked to Butina. His lawyer William Hurd said: "Paul Erickson is a good American. He has done nothing to harm our country and never would." Russian officials hit back at the case, calling it a "modern political inquisition" in comments quoted by the RIA state news agency. She faces a maximum of five years in prison and deportation. As part of her agreement prosecutors dropped a second charge of violating a law that requires foreigners working for their government to register with the US Justice Department. Her lawyer, Robert Driscoll, estimated that under sentencing guidelines for similar crimes Butina could face up to six months in prison.  Because of Butina's ongoing co-operation, the judge did not set a sentencing date but scheduled a hearing for February 12.  



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Maria Butina Admits Conspiring as Kremlin Agent Targeting GOP, NRA

Maria Butina Admits Conspiring as Kremlin Agent Targeting GOP, NRAThe 30-year-old gun enthusiast operated as a Kremlin agent as she befriended National Rifle Association leaders and influential U.S. conservatives, she admitted Thursday in federal court in Washington. “Butina sought to establish unofficial lines of communication with Americans having power and influence over U.S. politics,” prosecutor Erik Kenerson said at the hearing, reading from the government’s statement of facts.



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Reports: Accused Russian agent Maria Butina ready to plead guilty and cooperate with U.S. prosecutors

Reports: Accused Russian agent Maria Butina ready to plead guilty and cooperate with U.S. prosecutorsMaria Butina, the Russian national charged with acting as an agent for her country, will plead guilty to conspiracy, according to ABC News and CNN



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Accused Russian Agent Maria Butina Reaches Plea Deal With Federal Prosecutors: Reports

Accused Russian Agent Maria Butina Reaches Plea Deal With Federal Prosecutors: ReportsMaria Butina, a Russian gun-rights activist accused of working as an agent for



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Trump Wants To End Hurricane Maria Relief Funding To Puerto Rico: Report

Trump Wants To End Hurricane Maria Relief Funding To Puerto Rico: ReportPresident Donald Trump wants to stop sending federal relief money to Puerto



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The Trump Administration's Response To Hurricane Maria Could Doom Florida Republicans

The Trump Administration's Response To Hurricane Maria Could Doom Florida RepublicansORLANDO, Fla. ― Arleen Sevilla moved swiftly from house to house. With a stack



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Puerto Rico mayor blames Donald Trump for soaring Hurricane Maria death count: ‘It’s a historic failing’

Puerto Rico mayor blames Donald Trump for soaring Hurricane Maria death count: ‘It’s a historic failing’Puerto Rico’s mayor of San Juan has sharpened her attacks against Donald Trump, blaming his administration for “structural negligence” that led to thousands of deaths in the wake of Hurricane Maria. Carmen Yulín Cruz said the president was responsible for the federal government’s slow response to the deadly hurricane estimated to have killed nearly 3,000 people, during an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper on the one-year anniversary of the storm. “This is President Trump’s Katrina,” the mayor said, referring to the catastrophic hurricane that struck the US in August 2005.



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The Latest: Trump claims Maria death toll rose 'like magic'

The Latest: Trump claims Maria death toll rose 'like magic'WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on President Donald Trump's rejection of the official death count from Hurricane Maria (all times local):



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