GOPer Defends Russian Spy Maria Butina, Claims She Was Unfairly Prosecuted
Russian operative Maria Butina was released on Friday from her 15-month sentence after a conviction on charges related to her attempts to influence American politics, but Republican Rep. Thomas Massie believes Butina was mistreated by the U.S. justice system.
According to Newsweek, Massie complained on Twitter about Butina’s “ridiculously long” sentence for what he characterized as a small paperwork mistake.
"She served a ridiculously long sentence essentially for not filing the right paperwork. But now she is free. Sadly, she was jailed to satiate the rampant Russophobia in the US these days. We are better than this," the Kentucky lawmaker wrote.
Earlier this year, Massie said that Butina should have been released from prison and former FBI Director James Comey take her place.
Butina pleaded guilty in 2018 to one conspiracy charge after the Russian agent was “found to have cozied up to conservative groups such as the National Rifle Association (NRA) under the direction of a Russian official, with the intent of establishing "unofficial lines of communication" between Russia and U.S. political figures.”
Russian state media immediately picked up on Massie’s latest comments, as noted by Russian media analyst Julie Davis.
“Kentucky Republican Thomas Massie defends convicted Russian agent Maria Butina, Russian media immediately picks it up,” Davis wrote on Twitter. “Trump's GOP keeps creating propaganda for the Kremlin.”