A Russian national flag, left, an American national flag, center, and a Finnish national flag fly outside the Presidential Palace in Helsinki, Finland. (Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg)

Senate Agrees to Send Butina Transcript to Justice Department

(Bloomberg) -- The Senate agreed to send a transcript of a private interview of accused Russian operative Mariia Butina by the Senate Intelligence Committee to the Department of Justice and her lawyer.

Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr of North Carolina and Vice Chairman Mark Warner, a Virginia Democrat, issued a joint statement Wednesday after the Senate adopted a resolution authorizing the handover.

"In response to requests from the Department of Justice and counsel for Mariia Butina, we have sought authorization from the Senate to release to both parties the transcript of Ms. Butina’s testimony before the committee," they said. "The committee intends to provide the transcript, provided both parties agree to include it under the auspices of a protective order, which we understand is currently under discussion."

Robert Driscoll, Butina’s attorney, said he was unaware the Senate had passed a resolution on the matter.

“I have told them I’m OK with it, that I want a copy too,” he said by phone on Wednesday evening. “But I wasn’t aware that they were doing a resolution on it.”

He said he didn’t have a timeline for when he would receive a copy of the transcript.

Butina has been in U.S. custody since her arrest on July 15, after prosecutors said she had ties to Russia’s intelligence services and oligarchs who could offer her safe harbor.

She’s accused of trying to establish a back channel to American politicians and attempting to infiltrate the National Rifle Association on behalf of the Russian government. Prosecutors allege the scheme traces its origins to at least 2013.

Butina served as a special assistant to the deputy governor of Russia’s central bank, Alexander Torshin, a former Russian senator belonging to Vladimir Putin’s political party who is allegedly tied to the Russian mob world. Torshin is now under sanctions by the U.S. government.

Following Butina’s arrest, her attorney denied she was a Russian agent.

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