Matthew Rosenberg, Mike McIntire, Michael LaForgia, Andrew E. Kramer and Elizabeth Dias
She justified the need for gun rights in her country with two arguments often advanced by Russian officials: that Western sanctions had weakened Russia’s economy, causing more crime, and that the Ukrainian war posed a threat.
In Mr. Trump, he and Ms. Butina found a candidate who shared their views. In July 2015, Ms. Butina asked Mr. Trump about economic sanctions against Russia during his appearance at FreedomFest, a libertarian conference in Las Vegas. Mr. Trump responded that, as president, he “would get along very nicely with Putin.”
A Rockefeller heir, an Eisenhower, an array of Republican lawmakers — the accused Russian agent sought powerful connections outside the gun-rights group.
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