Butina pushes back on charges: ‘If I would be the Russian spy, you would never see me in public’

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Maria Butina, who admitted last year she was an agent for the Russian government, pushed back against the charges in a new interview, telling The New Republic that if she were a Russian spy, “you would never see me in public.”

Butina told writer James Bamford in a lengthy piece titled “The Spy Who Wasn’t” that she’s received backlash in Russia over the charge.

“They hate me in Russia, because they think I’m an American spy. And here they think I’m a Russian spy,” she said.

{mosads}“If I’m a spy,” she added, “I’m the worst spy you could imagine.”

Bamford’s piece is critical of the government’s case against Butina. The lead-in to the piece describes her as “the perfect scapegoat.”

ABC News reported that it was given access to some recordings from Butina’s conversations with Bamford, which she said were some of her only person-to-person communications.

“Truth is my best defender here,” Butina told Bamford. “If I would be the Russian spy, you would never see me in public. I mean, I would be the most unseen person on Earth.”

Butina, a Russian national, pleaded guilty in December to acting as an unregistered agent of the Russian government in the U.S. She faces a maximum of five years in prison.

She admitted that she and an American, known in court documents as “U.S. Person 1,” conspired with and acted under the direction of a Russian government official to establish unofficial lines of communications with people able to influence U.S. politics leading up to the 2016 presidential election.

Tags Espionage Maria Butina Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections Spies
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