News of russian interference in the american presidential election shook the nation to its core. Two years later, maria boutina, 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 maria would be portrayed as a spy and a woman who strung a web of lies all focused on completing her primary mission, influence government officials and positions of power to benefit her home country. Russia, wondering’s new mini series. Spy affair is an inside look at the shocking, true story of a woman who started her time in america with the trip to disneyland and ended it as a convicted criminal i’m about to play you a brief clip from the show, but while you’re listening make sure To follow spy affair on apple podcast or you can listen early and ad free by starting your free trial of wandery plus in the wandery app Music, las vegas sin city, the marriage, capital of the world home to america’s, most beloved casinos and in july 2015. The site of what was billed as the largest libertarian conference in the country – freedom, fest, thousands of business leaders, politicians, journalists, activists, finance, bros, flocked to planet hollywood. Hotel among them was maria boutina maria was from russia, and she was there with her american boyfriend paul erickson. A longtime 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 fest. There was one last minute addition to the speakers list who was getting a lot of attention that year and suddenly i start seeing that people are moving in so they’re coming in and they it’s like people like bees. You know they’re like starting buzzing there. This is the reason why there’s not a single empty seat in the room. We have a packed house i’ve, never seen anything like this in freedom, fast, maria and paul settled into their chairs in the celebrity ballroom. Ladies and gentlemen, please give a warm round of applause. For donald trump 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, but i’m going to make it bigger and better and stronger than ever before and then to questions. Okay, who are the questions? Where are they? Do you have a mic that’s when maria sitting in the front row decided she should ask a question, so i stand up because well, who wouldn’t do it paul? On the other hand, didn’t think it was a good idea.

He’S, like you really want to ask questions like, of course, why not maria wrote her question down on a piece of paper, so she could read it when she got to the mic, so i would actually ask properly meaning my english. You know because i was quite nervous: yes, ma’am uh i’m visiting from russia, so my question good friend of obama, putin. My question go ahead. My question will be about foreign politics. She stood before the mic with notebook in hand a beige shawl draped around her. She wanted to know what trump thought of the economic sanctions the obama administration had imposed on russia. If you would be elected as a president, do you want to continue the politics of sanctions that are damaging of both economy or you have any other ideas trump pointed at her? I know, putin and i’ll tell you what we get along with food. Putin has no respect for president obama, big problem, big problem. I believe i would get along very nicely with putin, 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 boutina, because three years after freedom, fest maria boutina, was arrested, federal Prosecutors claim maria boutina was secretly sent by the russian federation to infiltrate political candidates and the nra investigators say she worked to gain access to american political operatives and political groups, including the trump campaign i stepped outside, and they put handcuffs on me, and that was my Last minute of freedom, maria would tell me she was no secret agent.

She was a russian citizen who came to the united states, hoping to build a better relationship between two countries. She loved, but the federal government saw something different.