REPS LIEU AND RICE ISSUE STATEMENT ON FBI CHARGES AGAINST RUSSIAN NATIONAL WITH NRA TIES
WASHINGTON - Today, Congressman Ted W. Lieu (D-Los Angeles County) and Congresswoman Kathleen Rice (D-NY) issued the following statement after the FBI charged Russian national Mariia Butina with being an unregistered foreign agent. The FBI alleges that Butina attempted to establish a back channel of communication with American politicians, and allegedly used the National Rifle Association (NRA) as a conduit. In May, Reps. Lieu and Rice sent a letter to the FBI calling for an investigation into Russian influence on the NRA.
“This indictment is significant but not shocking given all we know about Russia’s efforts to influence our elections. It alleges that Russian actors attempted to infiltrate the NRA and make contact with the Trump campaign. A foreign entity that gains access to a powerful political organization to sway the outcomes of elections threatens the very underpinnings of our democracy. That’s exactly why we called on FBI Director Wray to investigate Kremlin ties to the NRA in May.
Today, our President denied that Russia interfered in our election even though 27 Russian nationals have already been indicted in the Special Counsel’s investigation. As former prosecutors, we’re keenly aware that this doesn’t represent some simple coincidence. Something bad happened in 2016 and every day that we in Congress fail to hold Russia and this Administration accountable is another day they can chip away at our country’s institutions.”