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Thursday, July 26, 2018

Russian spies are everywhere

Por dbloggers

Again reality explodes in the face of Donald Trump. While meeting in Finland with Vladimir Putin, at the same time the arrest of a Russian agent was reported. The news was broadcasted by the most important American television stations and published in the newspapers of that country.

Apparently, the citizen acted as an illegal agent of the Kremlin in Washington. The woman joined the 12 citizens of the Eurasian country who were accused of espionage and hacking from US institutions. The arrest occurred just during the press conference offered by the dignitaries. Coincidently or not, the Justice Department announced the arrest and imputation of the alleged agent Mariia Butina.

The young Russian woman was apparently a student in the United States, but she really worked for a senior Kremlin official without properly notifying him, a fact that constitutes a conspiracy offense that can lead to a sentence of up to five years in prison.

The young Mariaa came to establish ties with American political leaders such as the Republican Governor of Wisconsin, Scott Walker, or former Senator from Pennsylvania, Rick Santorum, among others, as well as with influential organizations such as the National Rifle Association (NRA), one of the strongest arms of the Republican Party. Some media speculate that the agent's goal was to be part of the Russian outpost to collude in the November elections.

According to the FBI, the young, who recently got a master's degree in International Services from the American University of Washington, was part of an influence operation led by the Russian banker Alexander Torshin. The FBI bases the accusations in private conversations between Butina and Torshin, deputy director of the Central Bank of Russia.

The arrest has generated a stir within the United States, especially by those who believe in the conspiracy theories and those close to Donald Trump. If on the one hand several Republicans recommended to Trump not to approach Moscow, others considered that it was a step to improve the diplomatic relations between both countries.

It is surprising then that the Justice Department, the same one that is behind Trump due to the suspicion of obstruction of justice, announced the arrest while the head of government met with his Russian counterpart.

Apparently Trump is right and, there really is a plot to undermine his administration and subject him to an impeachment. The American president made the mistake of messing up with one of the most prestigious research institutions in the world. Robert Mueller has shown Trump that the FBI is still reliable and it is possible that Trump is not involved in the Russian collusion, but the FBI has enough tools to create intrigue, plant evidence and above all, to tarnish the head of state image in front of the international community. The tenant of the White House looks for an approach to Moscow when the relations between both nations have deteriorated since the uncovering of a possible collusion of the Russian intelligence agencies. Apparently, they intervened in the 2016 elections and in other sectors of the US government.

The new accusations fuels the already burning fire. With the new movement, the FBI and other intelligence agencies thought that the New York tycoon would demand Putin to answer for the supposed agents, but none of this happened. The unpredictable behavior of the president once again left everyone stunned. "They told me (the intelligence agencies) that they think it was Russia. I do not see any reason why it could be (...) and President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his refusal of that today", he said during the Summit. Similarly, far from requiring Putin, he lashed out at his nation's Security Services, an event widely criticized by followers and detractors of the U.S. president.

To make matters worse, the Justice Department’s move was advantageous for Russians who deny the accusations and even support that it was a way to sabotage the meeting with Trump. Serguei Lavrov said they "spoil the atmosphere before the Russian-American summit."

Meanwhile, Senate opposition leader Chuck Schumer, who had already called for the cancellation of the summit on Friday, said: "Throughout the history of our country, Americans have never seen a president support an adversary of the same way that Trump has done it with Putin."

Even John Brennan, former director of the CIA, considered the meeting with Putin a betrayal.

Butina joins the other 12 scapegoats accused of hacking Hillary Clinton, Trump's electoral rival, to influence the 2016 election in favor of the mogul. One of the theories about Russian interference is that the espionage services had reported possible Russian meddling through cyberattacks, a fact that Trump denies and questions every moment he is in front of cameras.

"Further proof of what everyone but the president seems to understand: President Putin is an adversary who interfered in our elections to help President Trump win," said Mr. Schumer. For many analysts and intelligence agents the Russian leader preferred Donald Trump over Hillary and maybe that's why he gave him a "hand".

However, Rudy Giuliani, the president's lawyer, believes that the arrests so far show that no American citizen was involved in the Russian collusion. True or not, we will have to wait for the results of the interrogations of the 12 + 1 Russians accused of espionage in US territory.