An angry Vladimir Putin has denounced the 18 month sentence handed down to Russian influence agent Maria Butina, blasting her prison term an outrageous face-saving measure by U.S. authorities and claiming, against substantial evidence, “there was nothing on her.”

As Rolling Stone exposed in April 2018, shortly before she was arrested, Butina was at the center of a Russian campaign to infiltrate the National Rifle Association, and then to use the gun group as a conduit to meet and influence Republican decision makers. Butina worked to open a backchannel between the Kremlin and the Trump campaign and succeeded in meeting the future President’s son, Don Jr.

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