End the duopoly

Key takeaways from Russian agent Maria Butina’s “60 Minutes” interview

Convicted Russian agent Maria Butina spoke with “60 Minutes” on accusations that she was trying to influence U.S. policies and the NRA for the Kremlin in an interview broadcast Sunday. And she outlined why she asked then-presidential candidate Donald Trump about Russian sanctions at a 2015 event.

Why it matters: Maria Butina is the first Russian national convicted for seeking to influence U.S. politics during the 2016 campaign. She pled guilty in 2018 to to conspiracy charges alleging she worked with her American boyfriend, Republican operative Paul Erickson, to infiltrate conservative circles including in the NRA with the goal of influencing U.S. policy on behalf of the Kremlin.

Maria Butina “60 Minutes” interview highlights

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On her exchange with President Trump at the 2015 at the Libertarian convention FreedomFest:

  • CBS played footage of her asking Trump if he wanted to “continue the politics of sanctions that are damaging on both economies,” to which he replied, “I don’t think you’d need the sanctions. I think that we would get along very, very well.”

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