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Introducing: 'Spy Affair'


A charismatic Russian woman arrives in the US on a mission to improve relations between the two countries, and she soon makes some powerful friends. But who is Maria Butina? And who is she working for? As Butina gets closer to the rich and connected she also attracts the attention of the FBI. In the politically charged world of US-Russia relations, everyone has secrets and almost nothing is what it seems. From Wondery, the makers of The Shrink Next Door and Dr. Death comes SPY AFFAIR a story about deception, appearances and betrayal. Hosted by Celia Aniskovich.

This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Take this is bride milky. I host the ABC News, podcast start here, and I want to tell you but a new, true crime, many series from wondering called spy affair in twenty. Sixteen news of russian Interference in the american presidential election shook the nation to its core. Two years later, Maria Bettina, an alleged russian operative, sent to America to influence. U S: politics was arrested on charges of being a foreign agent. She quickly found herself and the people around her embroiled in a massive FBI. Investigation Bettina would be portrayed as a spy and a woman who spun a web of lies all focused on completing her primary mission to influence government officials in positions of power to benefit her home country. Russia, wonder is new many series spy affair is an inside look at the shocking, true story of a woman who came to America and ended up a convicted criminals. I'm gonna play a preview right now, while you're listening make sure to follow spy affair on apple pie.
Or wherever you listening now LAS Vegas Sin City, a marriage capital of the world to America's most beloved Zenos and in July, two thousand fifteen a sight of what was billed as the largest libertarian conference in the country. Freedom fast Thousands of business leaders, politicians, journalists, activists financed boroughs flocked to planet Hollywood. Hotel among them was Maria boot Anna Maria was from Russia and she was there with her american boyfriend, Paul Ericsson along time, conservative campaigner? There was his idea to go there. He showed me
The american political world Paul was my guide in this world, so he brought me to the freedom fast. There is one last minute additions to the speakers list. Who was getting a lot of attention that year and suddenly I start seeing the people are moving, so they coming in and they it's like people like bees. You know they're like sign, was in there. This is reason why there's not a single em, You see in the room. We have a packed house. I've never seen anything like this and freedom fast, Maria and Paul settled into their chairs and the celebrity ballroom. Ladies and gentlemen, please give a war round of applause for adults. What's wrong. Well, thank you very much now. Did he say this was your biggest crowd of the weekend. I don't know it had only been a few weeks since Donald Trump had descended the golden escalator of Trump Tower to announce his run for president in front of this crowd in LAS Vegas. He spoke for about A half hour, the american dream is dead. What I'm
to make it bigger and better and stronger than ever before, and then took questions. Ok, whore the questions where are they do have a MIKE, that's when Maria sitting in the front row decided she should ask a question, so I stand up the car as well, who wouldn't do it Paul? On the other hand, I didn't think it was a good idea. Just like you really want to ask questions, of course, by not Maria wrote, her question down on a piece of paper, says she could read out when she got to the MIKE saw. I would actually ask properly mean in my English now, because I was quite nervous, I'm visiting from Russia my question good front of Obama boat. My realise Obama got. My question will be. Foreign politics. She stood before them make with no book in hand a base shawl draped around her. She wanted to know what from thought
the economic sanctions the Obama administration had imposed on Russia. If you would be elected as president, do you want to continue the politics of sanctions that are damaging the both economy or you have any other ideas? Trump pointed at her? I know portal and I'll tell you what we get along with put potent has no respect for President Obama, big problem, the problem, I believe I would get along very nicely with Afterwards, Maria excused herself headed to the restroom and made a phone call to a senior russian official, she would later call it. My best report, Maria's question to Trump, had been brief and might have been forgotten, but much later, people would look back on that moment in Vegas and ask who is Maria Butina. Because three years after freedom, fast Maria,
routine undermine, was arrested and federal prosecutors claim Maria Lieutenant was sick. We sent by the Russian Federation to infiltrate political candidates and the inner investigator say she worked to gain access to american political operatives and political groups, including the trunk campaign I step outside and they put handcuffs and me, and there was last minute. Afraid them Maria would tell me she was no secret agent. She was she's citizen, who came to the United States, hoping build a better relationship between two countries. She loved by the federal government saw something different. I do not expect it, but something inside of me told me that be very bad, because the answer to that question who is Maria Butina depends depends along on who you ask.
Transcript generated on 2021-03-31.