Samantha Bee wasted no time ripping into the National Rifle Association for its silence over accused Russian spy Maria Butina, the 29-year-old who pleaded not guilty to charges of illegally acting as an unregistered agent of the Russian Federation. Butina allegedly infiltrated the NRA to access conservative groups and lawmakers on behalf of the Russian government.
During her opening segment on TBS' "Full Frontal," Bee played a montage of news broadcasts about Butina, which featured anchors and pundits comparing her to characters in the movie "Red Sparrow" or TV shows like "The Americans."
"Those movies assume it's hard to be a sexy Russian spy and convince Americans to compromise themselves," Bee said, adding that Butina "has now proven that it is extremely easy."
After all, allegedly posing as a gun-loving woman was her only disguise.
"With her focus on guns, sex and big money, Maria Butina caused every Republican she met to grow that tell-tale wet spot on the front of their pants," Bee quipped. "And, if that sounds gross, it super was."
However, the late-night host said something more frightening is lurking beneath the "James Bond" surface.
"Who cares if Butina fancied herself a half-assed James Bond character?" Bee asked. "The scary thing is that foreign interests are working with powerful conservative groups like the NRA – and it just got even easier."
Last week, a new Treasury rule was enacted that allows nonprofits who spend money to influence elections more room to conceal the names of their donors. Included among those groups is the NRA.
"The new IRS rules specifically apply to nonprofits whose purpose is to promote 'social welfare,' and any of these organizations can spend up to 49 percent of their money on political causes and don’t have to tell anyone where it came from," Bee explained. "This would be and is worrying with any organization, but the NRA has spent years making videos specifically designed to divide Americans, usually starring shiny-haired panic button Dana Loesch."
This transition brought Bee to the real target of her "Full Frontal" segment.
But first she played that bizarre promotional video from Loesch and the NRA which attempted to send a message to "every lying member of the media, to every Hollywood phony," to athletes who protest during the national anthem and to late-night hosts.
"Your time is running out," Loesch declares at the end of the video, mocking the Time's Up movement. "The clock starts now."
"You know, I never thought I’d say this to another woman, but maybe calm down and smile more," Bee cracked in response.
"Dana and the NRA are so eager to call out the scourge of American liberalism," she added. "But, they've been completely silent about their involvement with Maria Butina."
Bee suggested that perhaps the best tactic to get a response from the NRA was to communicate in "a way they understand."
Mimicking Loesch's tone, facial expressions, dress and buzz words, Bee made her own video, aptly titled "Time's Up, NRA."
"NRA, you go on your little screen with your scary shark eyes to tell people to make out with their guns or whatever," Bee said. "You make a narrative out of false context and fear-monger your followers into thinking they’re in a civil war. You use words like 'freedom,' 'liberty,' 'late-night hosts,' 'Hitler.' You have no chill."
"Then, you’re caught associating yourself with one Russian agent, and you just disappear?" she continued. "What gives? I dare you to make a comment. I challenge you to tell me how it’s American for the NRA to take money from foreign agents who want to see our democracy burn."
To Loesch, Bee said: "I dare you to get bangs. Change it up."
"You do want to be a star, right?" Bee asked her. "You’re the NRA’s spokesperson, so start spoking."