The Department of Justice unsealed an indictment against Maria Butina on Monday, alleging that the Russian national and her handlers used the National Rifle Association (NRA) to help “advance the interests of the Russian Federation.”
There have been reports about the NRA’s unusual ties to Russians for many years. Several Federal Election Commission (FEC) complaints have pressured the commission to look into links between the NRA and Russian officials.
Nonetheless, numerous prominent conservatives mocked the connections as a conspiracy — before falling silent following Monday’s indictment.
The NRA spokeswoman said her employer’s ties to Russia were a phony excuse created by Democrats to deflect blame for losing the 2016 election:
As I said, https://t.co/nBfBDhT5Hk , nice of you to impugn the character of 6 million innocent people because your party failed to buy off an election with Fusion GPS. Why did Clinton get $145m from Russia? https://t.co/5FtxerBl50
— Dana Loesch (@DLoesch) June 30, 2018
Furthermore, @michaelianblack , they aren’t under investigation, and I think $2,300 from expat member dues pales in comparison to the $145m Clinton received after she assisted the sale of Uranium One to Russia, if you want to talk “collusion.” https://t.co/5Ey8oFamZ5
— Dana Loesch (@DLoesch) June 30, 2018
Just to recap: Hillary Clinton & Democrats conspired with the Kremlin, a foreign spy, and Fusion GPS (working to repeal sanctions against Russia) to use her old oppo to substantiate surveillance on a private citizen and try to smear groups they felt contributed to her loss
— Dana Loesch (@DLoesch) May 16, 2018
The NRATV host was asked about Butina in a May tweet and responded by calling the allegations a “fairytale”:
— Dan Bongino (@dbongino) May 10, 2018
Fusion GPS, Russia, and the Hillary campaign: How liberal money, police-state abuses, & information laundering is poisoning American democracy. https://t.co/xzTYu6Tsew
— Dan Bongino (@dbongino) February 18, 2018
The Federalist’s senior editor mocked the notion of the NRA’s involvement with Russia as recently as Saturday, two days before the indictment of Butina was revealed.
“No actually the NRA — the NRA! —is a Russian front” remains one of my favorite Fusion GPS-planted conspiracy theories uncritically accepted and pushed by our media. Here, by an Atlantic editor. https://t.co/E0LNwPGauM
— Mollie (@MZHemingway) July 14, 2018
1) “the NRA is actually Russian” is 100% a Glenn Simpson/FusionGPS theory and 2) this particular Russian conspiracy theory still makes me laugh https://t.co/IdIobEOpAp
— Mollie (@MZHemingway) May 4, 2018
Gee, I wonder who pitched his own NRA conspiracy theory to the media today? Such a puzzle.
— Mollie (@MZHemingway) January 18, 2018
Breitbart’s senior editor-at-large wrote a March column entitled “Blue State Blues: Everyone They Don’t Like is a Russian Agent” in which he called the connections between Russia and the NRA “laughable”:
“This attempt to turn the NRA into another cog in the Russian conspiracy is laughable, but the mainstream media apparently still find it deeply compelling.”
The Daily Caller reporter questioned reports regarding Russia’s infiltration of the NRA in numerous tweets:
The McClatchy boys are at it again with another vague report about the NRA and Russia. What ever happened to Michael Cohen in Prague? https://t.co/tJa2e6h9UE
— Chuck Ross (@ChuckRossDC) June 11, 2018
Sept. 2016 article from Daily Beast on Millian, who was literally and unmistakably unknown at the time. One of the authors has been pushing the FusionGPS oppo on the NRA and Alexander Torshin. https://t.co/zCVmrzXvws
— Chuck Ross (@ChuckRossDC) June 7, 2018
Conservative lawyer Cleta Mitchell was the subject of one recent McClatchy piece from the same 2 reporters. She says a bunch of outlets contacted her with false claims about her work with NRA. She felt someone (guess who) was peddling the false stories. Only McClatchy bit. pic.twitter.com/rTu9vRHCdk
— Chuck Ross (@ChuckRossDC) April 16, 2018
The Townhall editor and Fox News contributor wrote a 2014 column in which she claimed Butina was just a woman “working with the NRA and fighting for gun rights in Russia”:
“I had to opportunity to sit down with Maria to talk about why she was there and to discuss her goals for the gun rights movement in Russia. She’s working on everything from castle doctrine, gun safety programs for kids and shifting public opinion in a pro-gun direction.”
“There’s been a working theory among liberals for some time now that the NRA may have conspired with Vladimir Putin to funnel money to help elect Donald Trump. (Who hasn’t, right?) This particular story, which pulls together some of the most terrifying boogeymen of our era — the nihilistic gun radical, the seditious president and the mind-controlling PAC — has been a particular favorite of the august National Public Radio.”
Butina allegedly tried to meet with several influential Republicans right before the 2016 election.