Passion for guns, love for Putin: A portrait of alleged Russian agent's time in DC
But at American University, her graduate school classmates said she openly and proudly expressed her support for Russian President Vladimir Putin and talked about at least some ties to the Kremlin.
And, Butina's former classmates say, they were shocked to learn that the FBI arrested the studious young woman they had known in class and on campus.
"There's no way that could be the case. There's no way that could happen," Sierra Hicks, who told ABC News she attended the university with Butina, remembered thinking when she saw news of Butina’s arrest.
ABC News spoke to several people who say they regularly came into contact with Butina, 29, while she seemingly lived a regular graduate student's life in the nation’s capital, studying international relations and looking for her next career move.
Their description of her time in Washington offers a more complete picture of Butina: She was not the unnoticed college student hiding her foreign loyalties from everyone around her.
"It was definitely kind of in-your-face that was where her allegiance was," Hicks said of Butina’s pro-Russia and pro-Putin views.
Those who came across Butina said the back of her cellphone prominently displayed a picture of Putin. And while on campus, Butina freely alluded to her activity on behalf of the Russian government, but she made it seem like she was a secretary or held some "low-level" position with a department in the Russian government, Hicks said.
Butina never went into specifics, classmates said.
Two people who knew her in class described Butina as a dedicated student.
"I had three classes with her and she attended every single class and she did the work," said one former student who requested anonymity because the former student is seeking work in or around Russia.
According to Butina’s lawyer, Robert Driscoll, she graduated in May with a master's degree in international relations and 4.0 GPA.
But her graduate school life was already unraveling. In April, a dramatic scene unfolded in the hallway outside her apartment in a relatively quiet part of northwest Washington.
"Maria, we know you’re in there!" FBI agents yelled as they banged on her apartment door from the hallway of her building, according to a neighbor who lived nearby.
The neighbor ABC News spoke to said it was unknown if Butina came out. In court, however, Driscoll confirmed the raid, arguing that because Butina did not flee before being arrested a couple of weeks ago she does not need to be detained pending trial.
The government alleges that Butina had connections outside the United States in Russia and could easily flee the country by using those connections, thus the need to keep her incarcerated.
The U.S. government's case against her alleged that she used her time at American University as a "cover" while she acted as a Kremlin agent, building relationships with those with political influence and in the upper ranks of the National Rifle Association.
She "engaged in a years-long conspiracy to work covertly in the United States as an undeclared agent of the Russian Federation in order to advance the interests of her home country," according to government filings in the case.
She "took steps to develop relationships with American politicians in order to establish private, or as she called them, 'back channel' lines of communication," according to an FBI affidavit filed in U.S. District Court in Washington.
"These lines could be used by the Russian Federation to penetrate the U.S. national decision-making apparatus to advance the agenda of the Russian Federation," the affidavit said.
Meanwhile, prosecutors also suggest Butina may not deserve all of the credit for her academic success.
"The FBI has discovered text messages and emails between U.S. Person 1 and Butina in which Butina would routinely ask U.S. Person 1 to help complete her academic assignments, by editing papers and answering exam questions," charging documents allege.
Butina has been indicted on two charges: conspiracy against the United States and acting as an agent of Russia government.
Butina’s lawyer has denied the allegations against her.
"Maria Butina is not an agent of the Russian Federation," Driscoll said in a statement. "She is a Russian national in the United States on a student visa."
Beyond the allegations, university classmates recalled Butina discussing politics and her support for the president, saying she "loved Trump." She openly spoke about her pro-gun views, too, and always made it a "women's rights issue."
At one point, she said that "if all women had guns there wouldn't be rape," a former classmate recalled.
Butina claimed to be the chairman of a pro-gun group she formed in Russia called "Right to Bear Arms."
But as outspoken as she was in class, Butina wasn't very engaging outside of class, according to former classmates.
Both of her former classmates described Butina as someone who didn't hang out with others in her program or accept the frequent invitations to group events.
"It was very limited contact outside an academic setting," said one former student who asked not to be named.
Hicks told ABC News that -– despite Butina's openness -– she could still sense "something a little bit off" about the Russian national.
"There was something that seemed not genuine about her," Hicks said. "But I couldn't quite place my finger on what it was."
July 28, 2018
Sources: ABC News
ritten, or redistributed. ©2019 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. All market data delayed 20 minutes. </p><p>Omar, the first Somali-American woman elected to Congress, responded to a post by journalist Glenn Greenwald criticizing House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., for threatening to take action against Omar and another freshman lawmaker, Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., over allegedly anti-Semitic remarks.</p><p>"There’s situations in our conference where a member does something that is wrong — I think you’ve seen from my own actions that I take action about it," McCarthy told reporters Friday, making an apparent reference to Republican congressman Steve King of Iowa. "I think when they stay silent, they are just as guilty ... I think this will not be the end of this, and if they do not take action then I think you will see action from myself. It’s unacceptable in this country, especially when you sit back and think about and listen to what this country went through in World War II."</p><p>Greenwald accused McCarthy of targeting Omar and Tlaib for their numerous criticisms of Israel, to which Omar chimed in "It's all about the Benjamins, baby," quoting a 1997 rap song by Puff Daddy. She then doubled down when challenged by Batya Ungar-Sargon, the opinion editor of The Forward newspaper.</p><p>"Would love to know who @IlhanMN thinks is paying American politicians to be pro-Israel, though I think I can guess," Ungar-Sargon tweeted. "Bad form, Congresswoman. That's the second anti-Semitic trope you've tweeted."</p><p>In response, Omar tweeted "AIPAC!" referring to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, which regularly has been accused by progressives of agitating for a conflict with Iran. AIPAC did not immediately respond to requests for comment from Fox News.</p><p>Omar's comments drew a strong response from across the political spectrum. The Republican Jewish Coalition called on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., to take action and asked rhetorically if House Democrats would "care to comment on the outrageous anti-Semitism being spewed by one of your fêted members?"</p><p>"[House Majority] Leader [Steny] Hoyer [D-Md.] - you've led many AIPAC trips to Israel," RJC Executive Director Matt Brooks tweeted. "Will you speak out against this??"</p><p>Chelsea Clinton tweeted: "We should expect all elected officials, regardless of party, and all public figures to not traffic in anti-Semitism."</p><p>Left-wing historian and Politico Magazine contributing editor Joshua Zeitz tweeted: "I'm one of those American Jews who opposes the occupation [of the West Bank and Gaza Strip], laments Israel's anti-democratic drift, and doesn't regard the country as especially central to my Jewish identity. And I knew exactly what the congresswoman meant. She might as well call us hook-nosed."</p><p>Sunday marked the latest in a long line of statements by Omar that critics have slammed as anti-Semitic. In 2012, she tweeted that "Israel has hypnotized the world, may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel. #Gaza #Palestine#Israel.” She did not apologize for posting the tweet until last month.</p><p>In January, Omar argued in a Yahoo! News interview that Israel could not be considered a democracy and compared it to the Islamic theocracy in Iran.</p><p>"When I see Israel institute laws that recognize it as a Jewish state and does not recognize the other religions that are living in it, and we still uphold it as a democracy in the Middle East I almost chuckle because I know that if we see that any other society we would criticize it, call it out," she said. "We do that to Iran, we do that to any other place that sort of upholds its religion. And I see that now happening with Saudi Arabia and so I am aggravated, truly, in those contradictions."</p><p>This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. ©2019 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. All market data delayed 20 minutes.</p>
ritten, or redistributed. ©2019 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. All market data delayed 20 minutes. </p><p>The final draft of the administration’s “Deal of the Century” is 175 to 200 pages long -- and fewer than five people have access to the complete document, sources told Fox News.</p><p>“The plan is done... [the president] is happy with the parameters of the deal,” a senior administration official said.</p><p>Trump was briefed by U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, Senior Adviser Jared Kushner and special envoy for Mideast peace Jason Greenblatt multiple times on the specifics of the deal, Fox News is told.</p><p>Kushner is set to visit Warsaw, Poland, later this week to attend a summit hosted by the United States and Poland to discuss regional issues regarding the Middle East, including Israeli-Palestinian peace.</p><p>Officials said Kushner’s meetings in Warsaw represent a significant opportunity for the administration to remind regional partners that peace between Israelis and Palestinians could strengthen U.S. efforts to counter Iranian influence in the Middle East.</p><p>At the end of the month, Kushner is expected to travel with Greenblatt to five Gulf countries to discuss the specifics of the Trump administration’s Israeli-Palestinian peace deal with regional leaders as he tries to garner more support for the plan.</p><p>Administration officials have said Trump is hopeful about the plan’s ability to move forward. “We have been given a different set of circumstances,” a senior administration official said.</p><p>This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. ©2019 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. All market data delayed 20 minutes.</p>
ritten, or redistributed. ©2019 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. All market data delayed 20 minutes. </p><p>The Minnesota Democrat, who has been a harsh critic of DHS, and particularly its Immigration and Customs Enforcement arm, tweeted Friday, “#Not1Dollar for DHS.”</p><p>But, after Fox News reported that she had called for cutting funding to DHS, she subsequently claimed her tweet had advocated a freeze in the DHS budget, not a cut.</p><p>They claimed DHS has “promulgated an agenda driven by hate — not strategy.”</p><p>“Cut, do not increase funding,” they wrote, urging lawmakers to follow “critical” guidelines to protect immigrant families. “The deal reached by the Conference Committee should not allocate any additional funding to this department or to the ICE and CBP agencies. The upcoming FY 2020 budget process will be a critical opportunity to take up conversations about reforms to the agency. In the meantime, not another dollar.”</p><p>Omar has posted several controversial tweets since being elected to Congress, including when she accused Trump of wanting a “coup” against Venezuela and insisted that Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., was “compromised.”</p><p>She also has posted several tweets attacking Israel, including one in which she agreed with a liberal activist that current-day Israel is similar to the U.S. South during the era of racial segregation.</p><p>This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. ©2019 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. All market data delayed 20 minutes.</p>
ritten, or redistributed. ©2019 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. All market data delayed 20 minutes. </p><p>Watson claims Fairfax raped her while they were classmates at Duke University.</p><p>Tyson claims Fairfax sexually assaulted her during the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston.</p><p>"I heard from Dr. Tyson after the 2004 Convention, and she never said or otherwise indicated that our interaction was not consensual or caused her any discomfort," Fairfax said in the statement. "Regarding Ms. Watson, I knew Ms. Watson in college both before and after the encounter, and she never said to me that our interaction was not consensual or caused her any discomfort."</p><p>"There's no question that violent sexual assault clearly qualifies as a high crime," Hope said in a news conference Friday night. "I believe these women. He needs to resign immediately."</p><p>This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. ©2019 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. All market data delayed 20 minutes.</p>
consequences for the peace process in Northern Ireland, according to former prime minister Tony Blair.</p><p>In a wide-ranging interview with Sky News' Sophy Ridge, the once Labour Party leader warned of a hard border if the UK leaves the EU without agreements in place for what the future relationship will look like.</p><p>He dismissed Brexiteer claims that leaving with no deal would not be detrimental to Britain's economy.</p><p>Mr Blair told Sky News: "No one could responsibly propose this [a no-deal Brexit]. It would be economically very, very dangerous for Britain and for the peace process in Northern Ireland, it would potentially be devastating.</p><p>"We would have a hard border, a very hard border, no-deal Brexit means a really hard border between the north and south of Ireland, contrary to the Good Friday Agreement and it would cause an enormous fissure within the United Kingdom."</p><p>He added: "Those people who cheerfully say you can put the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland in a completely different relationship with Europe, in trading terms, and it makes no difference to the economy of Northern Ireland - I don't know on what basis they would possibly say that."</p><p>The former politician, who has called for a second referendum on Brexit, said the country needed to decide whether it wanted a soft or hard departure from the bloc.</p><p>"I've never thought you could get to another referendum going directly to it - you'll get to it when the people see what the true Brexit alternatives are and the truth is there are two," he said.</p><p>"You can have the soft Brexit, which is really what Jeremy Corbyn is suggesting, or you could have the hard Brexit that Boris Johnson, Nigel Farage and other people want.</p><p>"And what I've really been saying all the way through this process is you've got to decide which of those Brexits you want before we leave - otherwise, we're going to leave without clarity."</p><p>He said leaving without clarity meant "no closure" for the country, leaving the argument to rage on long after the UK leaves the EU.</p><p>"By then you'll have left paid your money up front and you'll have given up your negotiating leverage," he said. "For the country to do that, as Theresa May wants to do - to leave without knowing what Brexit you get - this would be, in my view, an incredibly foolish thing for the country to do.</p><p>"It's got to know where we're heading before we leave."</p><p>He later turned to the issue of antisemitism in the Labour Party and admitted there were "parts of the left that do have a problem with antisemitism".</p><p>"You see this in their attitudes to the state of Israel," said Mr Blair. "You can make all sorts of criticisms about the state of Israel but with their continual focusing on Israel, all the time over a long period, you're left with the feeling that they're in a sense targeting it because it is a Jewish state."</p><p>Sign our petition to make party leaders take part in televised election debates</p><p>He said Labour leadership had "not been robust enough on this".</p><p>"Can you imagine when I was leader of the Labour Party having a conversation with me about whether antisemitism was in the Labour Party or not?" he asked. "We wouldn't even have that conversation and there is, I'm afraid, a nascent alliance between what I would call bits of the sort of Islamist type of politics and the left.</p><p>"And you can see this not just here in the UK, you can see it across Europe and yes, it gives rise to antisemitism... it's not your traditional antisemitism of the right-wing nature but it's every bit as pernicious."</p>
ritten, or redistributed. ©2019 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. All market data delayed 20 minutes. </p><p>Patrick Hope, a fellow Democrat and member of the Virginia House of Delegates, announced Friday that he intends to introduce articles of impeachment against Fairfax unless he resigns by Monday.</p><p>"On Monday, I will be introducing articles of impeachment for Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax if he has not resigned before then," Hope wrote on Twitter.</p><p>Fairfax has denied the allegations against him. He said Friday that they were part of a smear campaign against him and doesn’t intend to resign.</p><p>The allegations against Fairfax have also prompted calls for him to leave his post as well. Late Friday, U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., wrote on Twitter that Fairfax “can no longer effectively serve the Commonwealth."</p><p>"We cannot ever ignore or tolerate sexual assault,” wrote Kaine, who was Hillary Clinton's running mate in the 2016 presidential election.</p><p>“In light of the most recent sexual assault allegations against Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax, the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus believes it is best for Lt. Governor Fairfax to step down from his position," the caucus said in a statement.</p><p>This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. ©2019 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. All market data delayed 20 minutes.</p>
ritten, or redistributed. ©2019 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. All market data delayed 20 minutes. </p><p>“Until now the only public footage of the raid came from CNN, which somehow knew to arrive one hour before the FBI got there,” Carlson said, before showing a clip of Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker being asked about CNN’s presence at the raid during a congressional hearing.</p><p>"It was deeply concerning to me as to how CNN found out about that," Whitaker said.</p><p>Security footage shows an SUV with a CNN cameraman parked across the street from Stone's Fort Lauderdale, Fla., home. The cameraman got out and began filming when FBI personnel arrived an hour later.</p><p>Carlson also took issue with the way the raid was conducted.</p><p>A team of 29 heavily armed FBI agents in tactical gear arrived at the residence and pounded on the front door, the footage shows. Stone, 66, is seen barefoot and wearing a black T-shirt emblazoned with the phrase “Roger Stone did nothing wrong.” He comes out with his hands raised above his head and is put in handcuffs.</p><p>Like many conservatives, Carlson has raised suspicions that Stone's arrest was politically motivated.</p><p>“The FBI and their water carriers in corporate media tells us, 'Totally commonplace.' 'By the book.' "Happens all the time,'" Carlson said as he ended his segment.</p><p>This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. ©2019 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. All market data delayed 20 minutes.</p>
'Wage theft' by wealthy Silicon Valley tech firms forces taxpayers to pay more for social programs, Dem lawmaker says
ritten, or redistributed. ©2019 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. All market data delayed 20 minutes. </p><p>“The digital revolution is creating an extraordinary kind of wealth," Khanna told host Tucker Carlson about the tech companies. "They can afford to make sure that there’s a middle class and I think it's almost ridiculous for these people not see the divide and how they’re contributing to the divide."</p><p>Khanna specifically mentioned Instacart, a grocery delivery company that has come under fire for cutting labor costs by counting its drivers' tips as part of their salary. He said the employees are paid $10 per delivery but the tips earned are first put toward that base salary.</p><p>“It’s outrageous," Khanna said. "It’s a $7 billion company, they’re going IPO [initial public offering] and they’re basically having wage theft. They’re stealing the tips that should go to the employees to lower their base pay.”</p><p>Khanna, who uses the website himself, said that the default tip is set at 5 percent.</p><p>“Who tips 5 percent?,” he said. “They actually have a lower default tip because they don’t want to make it seem like customers should pay more and then if you do pay more, they’re taking that tip away. It’s just a scam.” </p><p>Companies all across the tech industry are shifting the burden of labor costs to taxpayers with policies similar to Instacart’s, Khanna said. In many cases, the employees' earnings cannot meet the basic cost for living, thus requiring taxpayers to pay the difference by funding social programs such as food stamps and health care.</p><p>Khanna pointed to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, who was criticized for not paying his employees a $15 minimum wage. He said it was only through legislation, the Jeff Bezos Act, that the CEO increased his company's minimum wage to $15 an hour.</p><p>“If you want to make sure we have a unified country then do some basic things. First of all, make sure everyone is participating in the benefits of technology, not that all the wealth is just going to very, very few individuals.”</p><p>Khanna also slammed tech companies for outsourcing approximately 200,000 tech jobs as opposed to hiring Americans in rural communities.</p><p>“If you want to prevent a populous backlash in this country to what’s happening," he said, "you need to be forward-looking."</p><p>This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. ©2019 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. All market data delayed 20 minutes.</p>
ritten, or redistributed. ©2019 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. All market data delayed 20 minutes. </p><p>"This afternoon at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, the president participated in a second periodic physical examination,” Sean P. Conley, DO, the physician to the president, said in a statement.</p><p>“Over the course of approximately four hours, I performed and supervised the evaluation with a panel of 11 different board-certified specialists. He did not undergo any procedures requiring sedation or anesthesia,” Conley said.</p><p>“While the reports and recommendations are being finalized, I am happy to announce the president of the United States is in very good health and I anticipate he will remain so for the duration of his presidency, and beyond," Conley said.</p><p>It wasn't immediately clear when a full report on Trump's exam would be released.</p><p>“All clinical data indicates the president is healthy and that he will remain so for the duration of his presidency,” Jackson, a rear admiral in the Navy, said at the time.</p><p>Jackson recommended that Trump do more dieting and exercise. He said Trump's blood pressure was 122 over 74, and his total cholesterol was 223, which was higher than recommended.</p><p>This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. ©2019 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. All market data delayed 20 minutes.</p>
ritten, or redistributed. ©2019 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. All market data delayed 20 minutes. </p><p>"There's a lot of people now going back on the Green New Deal, they're like 'oh it's impractical, oh it's too expensive, oh it's all of this,'" he said at a stop in Mason City, Iowa. "If we used to govern our dreams that way, we would have never gone to the Moon. 'God, that's impractical. See that ball in the sky? That's impractical.'"</p><p>"We are a nation that has done impossible things before and my parents taught me: 'Reach for the moon, reach for the stars. Even if you come up short, at least you're going to be hovering above the ground, you'll be soaring young man. So we need to be bold again in America. We need to have dreams that other people say are impossible."</p><p>Republicans immediately highlighted Booker's remarks, with Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel tweeting: "You can't make this up."</p><p>Booker, along with a host of other 2020 Democratic presidential hopefuls, co-sponsored a nonbinding resolution unveiled Thursday by freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass.</p><p>"Excited to join @AOC & @SenMarkey on a historic #GreenNewDeal resolution to address the peril of climate change and worsening inequality," he tweeted Thursday. "Our history is a testimony to the achievement of what some think is impossible — we must take bold action now."</p><p>It envisions a 10-year mobilization that would upgrade and expand power sources and power grids to meet 100 percent of power demand via clean energy sources, as well as overhauling transport systems to “eliminate pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector as much as is technologically feasible.”</p><p>On the economic front, the plan bundles together a host of liberal wish-list items. Among the most ambitious components is a plan to guarantee a job “with a family-sustaining wage, adequate family and medical leave, paid vacations, and retirement security to all people of the United States” -- and to provide health care, affordable housing, economic security and access to clean water, air, food and nature to all “people of the United States.”</p><p>But on Friday, Booker pushed back on that skepticism, and said that Americans had “done impossible things before.”</p><p>"We need to push the bounds of human potential because that is our history," he said enthusiastically.</p><p>"When the planet has been in peril in the past, who came forward to save Earth from the scourge of Nazis and totalitarian regimes? We came forward. Who came forward to save the planet, or continents, from financial ruin? We came forward with the Marshall Plan," he said. "Our history is standing up and saying, 'look, humanity is in crisis, America is going to be the light and the hope.'"</p><p>This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. ©2019 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. All market data delayed 20 minutes.</p>