.@sarahkendzior: It's a pretty pathetic look for the NRA and the Republicans that they are on one hand this easily manipulated but also complicit... It's obvious their loyalty is to themselves, their wallets, to Russian operatives, and possible to foreign countries. #AMJoy
“It’s a pretty pathetic look for the NRA and the Republicans that they are, on the one hand, this easily manipulated, but also complicit,” Kendzior told Reid. “There are voluntary participants in this. They are people who will be indicted themselves for failing to register as foreign agents,” she said.
The academic then argued that the NRA and Republicans appear to be more loyal to their personal bottom lines than anyone or anything else, except maybe another country. “And it is obvious their loyalty is to themselves, to their wallets, to Russian operatives, and possibly to foreign countries,” Kendzior pointed out.
Butina was detained by authorities in July for allegedly operating under the direction of Russia to infiltrate Republican and conservative groups, including the NRA. Although she initially maintained her innocence, she pleaded guilty last week and agreed to cooperate with investigators.
Prosecutors have said that the admitted Russian agent was managed by Alexander Torshin, who is also the deputy governor of Russia’s Central Bank and a trusted associate of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Torshin is currently sanctioned by the U.S. and accused of money laundering for the Russian mafia. Butina worked to establish her own gun rights organization in the U.S., through which she made connections between Russian officials and prominent Republicans, including members of the Trump family.