Dec 10, 2018

Alleged Russian spy Maria Butina expected to plead guilty

Photo: STR/AFP/Getty Images

Alleged Russian spy Maria Butina is expected to plead guilty in an agreement with federal prosecutors this week, according to a filing from her attorneys and prosecutors that states "the parties have resolved this matter."

Why it matters: Butina previously pleaded not guilty in July to accusations that she attempted to set up a "backchannel" between the Kremlin and the Republican Party while acting at the direction of a "high-level" Russian official. It's worth noting her charges are not part of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, but still illuminate another component of Russia's massive influence operation in the U.S.

Update [6:30pm]: ABC News obtained a copy of the plea deal Monday evening, which reveals Butina will cooperate with investigators.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to reflect new details reported by ABC News.

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  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 2 p.m. ET: 1,066,706 — Total deaths: 56,767 — Total recoveries: 223,697Map.
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  3. Business latest: Mark Cuban criticizes "arrogant" 3M on respirator production — The wartime mobilization effort to produce ventilators and medical supplies got started too late.
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Mark Cuban criticizes "arrogant" 3M on respirator production

Photo: Axios Events

Businessman and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said during an Axios virtual event Friday that 3M is "arrogant" for not speaking up about respirator production in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak.

What he said: Cuban criticized the company for "making more globally than domestically," echoing a similar line from President Trump now that the U.S. is the epicenter of the pandemic. "You can't ghost the American people," he told Axios CEO Jim VandeHei from Dallas.

Coronavirus puts ambitious plans for self-driving cars on the shelf

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

In two weeks, the coronavirus has brought the entire U.S. auto industry to a screeching halt. When it finally sputters back to life, many companies may be forced to change, defer — or even abandon — their ambitious plans for self-driving vehicles.

The big picture: Auto factories are shut down across North America to prevent the spread of the virus among workers, while stay-at-home orders have kept car shoppers away from showrooms. The resulting financial shock means carmakers have shifted their focus to survival, not investing in expensive technologies with no clear payoff.