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February 12, 2019

THE NEW REPUBLIC ON RUSSIA HYSTERIA: Maria Butina: The 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. In fact, federal prosecutors were forced to retract the most attention-grabbing allegation in the case—that Butina used sex to gain access and influence. That Butina’s prosecution was launched by the National Security Section of the District of Columbia federal prosecutor’s office, led by Gregg Maisel, is telling in itself: According to a source close to the Mueller investigation, the special counsel’s office had declined to pursue the case, even though it would have clearly fit under its mandate. 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.
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