Newly uncovered evidence from the “CalExit” movement, which seeks to have California withdraw from union, shows that its leaders may have been planted by foreign countries wanting to sow division in the U.S.

Recently released documents show that a Russian citizen, who goes by Aleksandr Ionov, gave $500 worth of digital tokens to an organizer of the CalExit movement, Louis Marinelli.

After giving the funds to the organizer, Ionov wrote to a person associated with the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) and spoke about the “turmoil” in the United States. “There you go,” Ionov said to the FSB agent.

The Justice Department wrote that the movement was a part of a “years-long foreign malign influence campaign that used various U.S. political groups to sow discord, spread pro-Russian propaganda, and interfere in elections within the United States.”

The movement aimed to weaken America and “further Russian interests,” according to the Justice Department.

In a recent post written by Marinelli said he was “not and never was an illegal agent of the Russian government tasked with sowing discord in the United States.”

“The discord in America is thriving well without Russia’s help,” Marinelli continued. “Furthermore, I never received funding from the Russian government or Mr. Ionov to engage in political activities, spread pro-Russian propaganda, or interfere in elections within the United States.”

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