Russians, NRA, Trump Administration, is there really any difference anymore?
Courtesy of WaPo:
A Russian national with alleged ties to a top Russian official was charged in federal court in Washington Monday with conspiracy to act as an agent of the Russian Federation and was ordered held without bond.
Maria Butina, 29, was arrested Sunday in the District and made her first appearance in U.S. District Court before Magistrate Judge Deborah A. Robinson. Her attorney, Robert Neil Driscoll, told the judge that Butina’s residence was searched by the FBI in April, that she had testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee in a closed session several months ago, and that “we have been offering to cooperate with the government the entire time.”
The charges against Butina come days after the Justice Department unveiled an indictment against 12 Russian intelligence officers for allegedly conspiring to hack Democrats in 2016 and just hours after President Trump cast doubt on Russia’s involvement in an extraordinary joint news conference with President Putin.
Butina is accused of developing relationships with American politicians and a “gun rights organization,” none of which are named in the affidavit supporting the criminal complaint. FBI Special Agent Kevin Helson wrote that Butina was attempting to “establish a ‘back channel’ communication for representatives of the Government of Russia.”
The affidavit also contains apparent communications, by direct message on Twitter, between Butina and the unnamed Russian official. “Your political star has risen in the sky,” the official told Butina. “Now it is important to rise to the zenith and not burn out (fall) prematurely,” and they later discussed the “Russia-USA friendship society.”
In 2017, Butina and the official attended the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, the affidavit states.
That “guns rights organization” is, of course, the NRA. (As if there was any doubt.)
As I was reading through this article I kept thinking that this Butina woman sounded familiar to me.
And I was right, I wrote about her back in March on the old blog:
Just a month after Trump announced his campaign for the White House, he spoke directly to Maria Butina, the protégé of the powerful Russian banking official and Putin ally Alexander Torshin. During a public question and answer session at FreedomFest, a libertarian convention in Las Vegas in July 2015, Butina asked Trump what he would do as president about “damaging” US sanctions. Trump suggested he would get rid of them.
“My question will be about foreign politics,” Butina continued. “If you will be elected as president, what will be your foreign politics especially in the relationships with my country? And do you want to continue the politics of sanctions that are damaging of both economy [sic]? Or you have any other ideas?”
After going off on Obama and digressing into trade policy, Trump responded: “I know Putin, and I’ll tell you what, we get along with Putin… I believe I would get along very nicely with Putin, OK? And I mean, where we have the strength. I don’t think you’d need the sanctions. I think we would get along very, very well.”
So this Russian national, with ties to a Putin ally, was not only able to infiltrate the NRA here in America but also able to get close enough to Trump to ask him a question about how he would treat Russia if he were to be elected president.
It is like every Russian agent in the country was somehow gaining access to the Trump Campaign, or to Trump himself.
But keep in mind, according to Trump, there was NO collusion.
Just a whole lot of coincidences.