Russian Operative Maria Butina Says She Wasn’t Part of ‘Grand Giant Plan’

Butina, 30, who pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy, made the comments in an interview with National Public Radio, her first with a U.S. media outlet since her sentencing

Russia Covert Agent
AP, File

Maria Butina, the Russian operative who used her NRA activism to illegally infiltrate conservative political circles, says her only crime was not registering as a foreign agent, NBC News reported.

Butina, 30, who pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy, made the comments in an interview with National Public Radio, her first interview with a U.S. media outlet since she was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison in April.

"I should have registered [as a foreign agent], which I didn't. And this is why the whole this thing got started," Butina said, according to portions released ahead of the Friday broadcast of the interview on "All Things Considered."

"But that wouldn't be appropriate to say that this was all one grand giant plan, and I'm a part of some grand giant plan," she said. "There is no proof of that."

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