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House Dems call for records on Bolton's ties to alleged Russian agent

The Hill logo The Hill 8/20/2018 Brett Samuels

John R. Bolton wearing a suit and tie © Provided by The Hill Two House Democrats wrote to the White House on Monday pressing for documents that could show whether national security adviser John Bolton disclosed his prior connections to the Russian woman who's been arrested and accused of infiltrating political U.S. organizations.

Democratic Reps. Elijah Cummings (Md.) and Stephen Lynch (Mass.) wrote Monday to White House chief of staff John Kelly requesting he provide information from Bolton's security clearance application, and additional documents disclosing his contacts with foreign nationals in the past seven years.

The lawmakers cited a New York Times report from last month that found Bolton appeared via video at a 2013 gun rights event organized by Marina Butina, who has been charged with acting as an unregistered foreign agent for Moscow.

"Given the alarming and unprecedented nature of these revelations - and the high-level position of trust Mr. Bolton now holds - we request that you produce documents relating to whether Mr. Bolton reported his previous work with this alleged Russian spy on his security clearance forms or other White House vetting materials prior to President Trump appointing him to his current position," the lawmakers wrote.

Cummings is the ranking Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, while Lynch is the ranking Democrat on the subcommittee on National Security.

The two men cited concerns with the Trump administration's vetting process, noting that President Trump's first national security adviser, Michael Flynn, was not forthcoming about his communications with Russian officials.

NPR first reported on Bolton's involvement in the 2013 conference in support of The Right to Bear Arms, a Russian pro-gun group. Bolton reportedly appeared via video and urged Russia to loosen its gun laws.

Butina, a Russian national and gun-rights activist, was arrested and charged last month with secretly acting to advance the Kremlin's interests through cultivating connections with powerful groups, including the National Rifle Association, and individuals close to the Republican Party.

Their request for information from the White House comes a few weeks after three Senate Democrats requested documents from the Treasury Department related to financial ties between Butina and the NRA.

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