Maria Butina—The Gun-Loving Russian Spy Who Wasn’t

“The government’s case against Butina is extremely flimsy and appears to have been driven largely by a desire for publicity,” Bamford writes. “Despite the lack of evidence against Butina, however, prosecutors — abetted by an uncritical media willing to buy into the idea of a Russian agent infiltrating conservative political circles — were intent on getting a win. In the context of the Mueller investigation, and in the environment that arose after Trump’s election, an idealistic young Russian meeting with influential American political figures sounded enough like a spy to move forward.”