Russia’s foreign ministers wants the US to release their Red Sparrow.

By | 2018-07-22T08:57:20+00:00 July 21st, 2018|Categories: Front Page, News, News2|Tags: , , , , |25 Comments

Somebody seems nervous.

Courtesy of Reuters:

Russia’s foreign minister told his U.S. counterpart on Saturday that a woman arrested in the United States on accusations she was a Russian agent had been detained on “fabricated charges” and should be released.

Sergei Lavrov made the comments about Maria Butina in a phone call to U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that was aimed at improving bilateral relations, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement in the wake of the recent summit in Helsinki.

On Wednesday, a U.S. judge ordered Butina jailed until her trial after U.S. prosecutors argued she has ties to Russian intelligence and could flee the United States.

Butina has been accused of working with a high-powered Russian official and two unidentified U.S. citizens, trying to infiltrate a pro-gun rights organization in the United States and influence the United States’ foreign policy toward Russia.

Lavrov said the actions of the American authorities, who arrested Butina “on the basis of fabricated charges”, were unacceptable and called for her release as soon as possible.

Not to tell the Russians how to do their jobs or anything, but if a judge puts one of their people in jail for fear they will flee the country, and then the foreign minister from her native country demands her release, that kind of sounds like the judge made a good call. 

I’m just saying. 

Besides, if Lavrov is right and these charges are “fabricated” that would mean Butin is NOT a Russian agent and therefore has nothing incriminating to share with our government.

So why all the worry?

Oh, by the way, did I mention that according to Butina’s lawyer she is cooperating with the investigators? 

So hey, perhaps the Russians are less concerned with Butina not being treated fairly and more concerned that they cannot shut her up while she is safely locked up in a jail cell. 

Just thinking out loud. 

Do you know who else probably wants Butina shut up?

The NRA:

For decades, the National Rifle Association has promoted its hardline politics with appeals to patriotism, freedom, and the staunch defense of the Second Amendment. But now, the controversial gun lobbying group finds itself deeply caught up in a wide-ranging effort to sabotage American democracy by an enemy foreign power.

Federal prosecutors unsealed charges this week against 29-year-old Russian national Maria Butina, a self-styled gun activist with long-running ties to the NRA who worked for Alexander Torshin, a high-level Russian government and banking official from President Vladimir Putin’s party. Butina, who was a graduate student at American University until this spring, began traveling to the United States in 2014 and operated as a “covert Russian agent,” according to an FBI affidavit. She acted as an unregistered foreign agent and participated in a multiyear conspiracy to infiltrate conservative political groups including the NRA, federal prosecutors say, in order to “advance the interests of the Russian Federation.”

Interestingly enough the NRA has NOT called these charges “fabricated” in fact they have not said much of anything about this arrest. 

I think that is because they are too busy freaking the fuck out. 

About the Author:

This blog is dedicated to finding the truth, exposing the lies, and holding our politicians and leaders accountable when they fall far short of the promises that they have made to both my fellow Alaskans and the American people.

25 Comments

  1. anon July 21, 2018 at 4:17 pm - Reply

    Keep her in jail and Lock up those that have COLLUDED with her. The NRA needs to be shut down and the ceo questioned in court.

    • anonymous July 22, 2018 at 7:27 am - Reply

      Send her to Guantanamo for safe keeping!

  2. Anonymous July 21, 2018 at 4:29 pm - Reply

    Rand Paul spent his political contributions on lavish Italian vacation with limo service and luxury hotel: report

    …Using funds from his Political Action Committee, Reinventing a New Direction, Paul spent $11,043 at restaurants in Italy and Malta last year.

    He also spent $4,492 on limousine services in Rome and $1,904 on an upscale hotel in Athens.

    Paul’s spokesperson said that he used political donors money “to save taxpayer funds,” according to the Courier-Journal.

    His PAC, known as RAND PAC, also spent $337 on apparel at a Nebraska Men’s Wearhouse, $438 on apparel at a shoe store on Madison Avenue in New York City, $201 at TJ Maxx and $1,575 at a restaurant in the Trump Hotel.

    In a statement sent Saturday, Paul defended his expenses, saying they were part of fundraising efforts for his leadership PAC

    “This week I defended the President’s foreign policy against the establishment of both parties,” Paul said. “I was rewarded with a left wing attack story about overseas spending. The truth is, I’m probably one of the only senators who has never traveled at taxpayer expense, and all trips taken were for fundraising and made money for RANDPAC.”

    “We chose to finance travel this way to save taxpayer funds, rather than at taxpayer expense as nearly every other elected official does,” she said.

    https://www.courier-journal.com/story/news/politics/2018/07/20/report-rand-paul-spent-donor-cash-trips-abroad-clothing/806820002/

    All Expenses Paid – How Leadership PACs Became Politicians’ Preferred Ticket to Luxury Living

    https://www.issueone.org/all-expenses-paid-how-leadership-pacs-became-politicians-preferred-ticket-to-luxury-living/

    ‘Instead, often under the guise of fundraising activity, officeholders and candidates overwhelmingly use leadership PAC money to pay for, among other
    things, five-star luxury resort stays, expensive dinners, trips to theme parks, golf outings, tickets to Broadway shows and sporting events, and international travel. Since by law officeholders cannot use official campaign funds for “personal use” — like country club fees, clothing purchases, or family trips to Disney World — they have instead dipped into their leadership PAC funds for these expenses. This pattern arose, and has worsened, because the FEC has not
    applied the personal use prohibition to a politician’s leadership PAC. It is troubling enough that officeholders use their leadership PAC funds to buy their
    way up the leadership ladder by giving to congressional colleagues. It is even more troubling that many are using their leadership PAC funds to subsidize their own luxurious lifestyles, including high-end vacations and country club memberships.’

    https://www.issueone.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/All-Expenses-Paid-How-Leadership-PACs-Became-Politicians-Preferred-Ticket-to-Luxury-Living-Report.pdf

    • anon July 22, 2018 at 4:59 am - Reply

      Didn’t Scarah drain her PAC living vibrantly?

  3. Anonymous July 21, 2018 at 4:46 pm - Reply

    Brett Kavanaugh wants to make it easier for foreign cash to flow into U.S. elections. Lawyers for the company accused of funding Russia’s troll factory couldn’t be happier.

    Lawyers representing the company accused of funding Russia’s notorious troll factory are preparing for a legal battle with special counsel Robert Mueller — and they’ve found an ally in Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

    In a motion to dismiss filed this week, lawyers for the indicted Russian company cited a 2011 decision on foreign spending in U.S. elections written by Kavanaugh as the basis for their argument to get the charges dropped.

    The company, Concord Management and Consulting LLC, was among the 16 Russian entities indicted in February as part of Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference and potential coordination with the Trump campaign.

    According to the Department of Justice, the head of Concord Management — Russian citizen Yevgeny Prigozhin, a Putin ally who was also charged in the February 2018 indictment — used his company to finance the activities of the St. Petersburg-based troll factory known as the Internet Research Agency.

    Among other things, the Internet Research Agency is accused of creating social media accounts to impersonate Americans and to promote disinformation, divisive political ads, and propaganda. The DOJ also says operatives working at the Internet Research Agency posed as U.S. political activists and even managed to convince Americans to organize and attend political rallies on U.S. soil.

    These activities were undertaken “for the purpose of interfering with the U.S. political and electoral processes, including the presidential election of 2016,” according to the indictment.

    Since campaign contributions and expenditures by foreign nationals are prohibited, the $1.25 million Concord Management is accused of spending on activities intended to influence the 2016 election would violate federal law, as the DOJ lays out in the indictment.

    But in a motion to dismiss filed this week with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia — the same court on which Kavanaugh sits — lawyers for Concord Management argued that the charges against the company should be thrown out because it “had broken no federal laws” and “was merely supporting free political speech.”

    To make their case, the lawyers cited Kavanaugh’s 2011 decision in Bluman v. FEC, which would restrict the scope of the current federal ban on foreign spending in U.S. elections.

    Kavanaugh’s narrow reading of the Federal Elections Campaign Act makes a distinction between expenditures advocating for a political issue (“issue advocacy”), which he thinks are permitted under current law, and expenditures advocating for a specific candidate. According to his interpretation, laws limiting foreign influence in U.S. elections violate the First Amendment.

    In his view, it should be perfectly legal for Russia and other countries to pour money into ads and other activities aimed at influencing U.S. politics and elections — as long as they don’t explicitly call to vote for (or against) a particular candidate.

    “Kavanaugh went out of his way to narrow the foreign national ban to apply only to ‘spending money in order to expressly advocate for or against the election of a candidate,’” explained Brendan Fischer of Campaign Legal Center.

    https://shareblue.com/internet-research-agency-russian-troll-factory-indictment-brett-kavanaugh-scotus/

    • Anonymous July 21, 2018 at 5:33 pm - Reply

      He also thinks that the Nixon tapes should have not been subpoenaed.

  4. Anonymous July 21, 2018 at 4:48 pm - Reply

    Pence brother’s campaign funneled thousands of dollars to Trump’s DC hotel

    GOP house candidate Greg Pence is part of the stampede of Republicans spending heavily at Trump’s D.C. hotel. That money finds its way into Trump’s private accounts.

    Republican campaigns and affiliated PACs are pouring thousands of dollars into Trump’s Washington, D.C., hotel ahead of the midterm elections this fall.

    Among those who have sent money Trump’s way is Greg Pence, Vice President Mike Pence’s older brother. Pence is the current Republican candidate for his brother’s old congressional seat, Indiana’s 6th Congressional District.

    So far, his campaign has spent $15,318 at Trump properties this campaign cycle. Most of that was spent at the D.C. hotel, but Pence also spent for lodging at the Trump International Hotel in New York City.

    As Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell works on getting Trump’s Supreme Court pick Brett Kavanaugh seated, he is also funneling money to Trump.

    The Senate Leadership Fund, a super PAC affiliated with McConnell, spent $11,507 on just one catered event at Trump’s D.C. hotel.

    Even after Trump took over the presidency, the Trump International Hotel has been a continual source of funds for Trump, thanks to his refusal to follow presidential tradition by divesting from his holdings or putting them in a blind trust.

    Instead, money spent at the property goes into Trump’s bank account, and it has become an open avenue for those seeking influence or to curry favor with Trump.

    https://shareblue.com/greg-pence-campaign-trump-international-hotel/

  5. Anonymous July 21, 2018 at 4:51 pm - Reply

    Trump’s detention centers caught drugging and starving kids

    More and more children are at risk of unauthorized drugging, hunger, dehydration and physical assault in shelters and detention centers, thanks to Trump’s cruel border policies.

    Children being held in immigration detention have been subject to drugging without parental consent, a dangerous practice more children are likely to encounter thanks to Trump.

    The decision to prosecute all border crossers and rip families apart as a result means more children have been sent to detention facilities. In some of these facilities, reports indicate drugging children to control their behavior without parental consent.

    ProPublica reports that since children in the shelters are alone and unaware where their parents are, staffers at facilities have acted “unilaterally, imposing psychotropic drugs on children who don’t know what they’re taking or what its effects may be.”

    Dr. Amy Cohen, a psychiatrist, told the outlet the medications are a danger to children “with growing brains and growing bodies,” and highlighted the danger parental absence can have on well-being.

    Five immigrants under 18 who said they were drugged have sued Alex Azar, the current head of the Department of Health and Human Services. (Azar has taken the lead in publicly spinning the administration’s attempt to hold on to abducted children.)

    The danger of unauthorized drugging is just one of many issues that are the subject of legal action.

    A new court filing details horrifying allegations about how migrant children are being treated at detention centers. Hunger, dehydration, sleeplessness and “routine” physical assault are among the conditions children are allegedly being exposed to.

    https://shareblue.com/trump-administration-detention-centers-children-drugging-hunger-lawsuit/

  6. Anonymous July 21, 2018 at 4:54 pm - Reply

    GOP congressman blames ‘deep state’ for arrest of Russian spy he met with

    Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) is known for his zealous allegiance to Russia. It’s even earned him the nickname “Putin’s favorite congressman.” True to form, he went to bat for Russia again this week, parroting a favorite conspiracy theory of Trump’s — and Vladimir Putin’s — when confronted about Russian spy Mariia Butina, recently indicted for conspiracy to act as an agent of a foreign government.

    We now know Rohrabacher met with Butina, but before he would admit to that, he “dismissed the Butina charges as a function of the ‘deep state,’ a term used by President Trump to deride law enforcement officials as conspirators in a plot to undermine him,” reports Politico.

    Rohrabacher went even further, speculating — with no evidence — that the arrest was meant to hurt Trump’s attempts to grow closer to Russian dictator Vladimir Putin.

    “This is an attempt to undermine the president’s ability to have better relationships with Russia,” Rohrabacher said.

    When first asked if he was the congressman mentioned in the indictment who met with Butina, Rohrabacher told Politico he wasn’t sure. His office later confirmed to the OC Register that Rohrabacher was, indeed, the congressman mentioned in the indictment.

    https://shareblue.com/mariia-butina-dana-rohrabacher-russian-spy/

    • Beaglemom July 22, 2018 at 12:18 pm - Reply

      I hope that Mueller is keeping a close eye on Rohrabacher. I think he’s in deep with the Russians.

  7. Anonymous July 21, 2018 at 5:16 pm - Reply

    Sometimes you just whistle “told you so!”
    Thanks, Uncle Gryph.

  8. Jenny July 21, 2018 at 5:35 pm - Reply

    I was so over them when they would call our home in Alaska and only want to speak with hubby. My hubby remember the NRA as a kid, and the NRA’s only interest was gun safety. As soon as it wanted to pursue a right wing agenda and all the crap associated with it he said, “Fuck you!” So, from both of us, “Fuck you NRA!” And how entirely transparent this Russian operative would go directly to that agenda. Lock her up!

  9. Anonymous July 21, 2018 at 5:37 pm - Reply

    Of course they want her back before she talks and since there is no extradition agreement with Russia,she is gone forever. However since she got caught, maybe she would prefer to stay in the USA instead of dead in russia.

    I just “love” the fact the NRA takes money from a foreign enemy state to promote the guns which are used to KILL Americans.

  10. Anonymous July 21, 2018 at 6:15 pm - Reply

    Makes you wonder, NRA Members. Like a robbery,
    “What’s it going to be, fraidy cat? Bible or gun?,” and they would have to think about it.

  11. anonymous July 21, 2018 at 6:26 pm - Reply

    Hows about a presiduncial pardon for the little russian gun hugger and republican dick tugger?

  12. viv July 21, 2018 at 6:55 pm - Reply

    Dead honeypot walking. Who would be shocked to find that the Russians (who don’t care much for guns in private hands) laundered $30 million through the NRA to give to Trump? Not Mueller, that’s for sure.

  13. Anonymous July 21, 2018 at 9:55 pm - Reply
  14. anon July 22, 2018 at 6:58 am - Reply

    https://www.rawstory.com/2018/07/accused-spy-maria-butina-backed-russian-billionaire-whose-son-ties-trump-campaign-report/

    “According to the report, Butina told the Senate Intelligence Committee in April that Nikolaev provided funding for a gun rights group she represented, that has been linked to the NRA. A spokesman for Nikolaev confirmed that the billionaire was in contact with her as she was launched her suspicious pro-gun rights group in Russia between 2012 and 2014, but declined to confirm whether Nikolaev provided for her financially.

    The spokesperson claimed that Nikolaev does not have any ties to President Donald Trump, however his son — who is studying in the U.S. — volunteered for Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, according to sources.”

  15. anon July 22, 2018 at 7:26 am - Reply

    “Our inability to trace campaign donations to their source — the dark money issue — is the result of the lack of federal regulations to make disclosure mandatory. And such regulations are legal; the Court said as much in Citizens, with eight of nine justices agreeing on that point! The only thing standing in the way of transparency is congressional stonewalling. In 2010, Republican senators defeated a disclosure law 59 to 39, which would have made it more difficult for donors to use legal loopholes to hide their identities.

    Citizens simply has not had the seismic legal impact that many think. Since Buckley protected money as speech, the only question was whether corporations were legitimate speakers. It may surprise some to hear, but the Court had already answered this question in 1978. In First National Bank of Boston v. Bellotti, the Supreme Court recognized a corporate right to free speech, concluding that the value of speech in the course of political debate does not depend on the identity of the speaker.”
    The Court seems inclined to limit the definition of “corruption” to explicit bribery”

    https://www.publicintegrity.org/2018/05/10/21739/study-most-americans-want-kill-citizens-united-constitutional-amendment

    https://www.vox.com/the-big-idea/2018/5/7/17325486/citizens-united-money-politics-dark-money-vouchers-primaries

  16. anon July 22, 2018 at 7:31 am - Reply

    https://thinkprogress.org/fisa-release-gop-lying-9973e5c28101/

    “Trump and his allies claim the Steele Dossier was the sole basis for a surveillance warrant of Carter Page. They are lying.” ” Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) — lied to the public several months ago via a memo that falsely asserted the FBI sought the warrant on the sole basis of the infamous Steele dossier, a Republican-conceived memo written by a former British intelligence officer containing several salacious rumors about Donald Trump.

    As Democrats and the FBI later disclosed — and as Saturday’s release makes clear — the dossier was far from the only evidence provided to the FISA court, ”
    “One thing was made very clear though: the Trump administration and their extremist allies in Congress have been lying to the public for months.”

  17. Anonymous July 22, 2018 at 7:48 am - Reply

    Accused Russian Agent Maria Butina Met With 2 Senior U.S. Officials In 2015: Reuters
    The meetings involved officials at the U.S. Federal Reserve and Treasury Department.

    https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/maria-butina-officials-treasury-federal-reserve_us_5b545a7de4b0de86f48dda4f

    • anonymous July 22, 2018 at 8:32 am - Reply

      “a report from a Washington think tank that arranged them, involved Stanley Fischer, Fed vice chairman at the time, and Nathan Sheets, then Treasury undersecretary for international affairs.”
      “The meetings were documented in a Center for the National Interest report seen by Reuters that outlined its Russia-related activities from 2013 to 2015. The report described the meetings as helping bring together “leading figures from the financial institutions of the United States and Russia.””Butina worked for Torshin, who has close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin, and served as his interpreter at various Washington events.

      Fischer, an in email to Reuters, confirmed he met with Torshin and his interpreter. While he could not recall details, Fischer said the conversation involved “the state of the Russian economy” and Torshin’s new role as deputy central bank governor.

      Another person familiar with the meeting, speaking on condition of anonymity, said it occurred on April 7, 2015, and confirmed Butina attended.

      Federal prosecutors have accused Butina of conspiring with two American citizens and a top Russian official to influence U.S. policy toward Russia and infiltrate a gun rights group believed to be the National Rifle Association.”
      “The indictment said that beginning in about 2015 Butina and the official conspired to “advance the interests of the Russian Federation.””The think tank hosted Trump at an event at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington in April 2016 also attended by Sergei Kislyak, Russia’s ambassador to Washington at the time. Two months earlier, the group’s Russian-born CEO, Dimitri Simes, traveled to Moscow, where he met with Putin and other Russian officials, the organization’s records showed.

      The April visit came about a year after Obama’s administration imposed sanctions on Russia for its annexation of Ukraine’s CRIMEa region. During the same trip, Torshin and Butina also participated in a private “off the record” discussion at the center about the “Russian financial situation and its impact on Russian politics,” according to people familiar with the meeting and the think tank’s report. That event was moderated by the group’s chairman emeritus, former AIG CEO Maurice “Hank” Greenberg, the report showed.”
      Prosecutors said the think tank’s magazine published an article by Butina in June 2015 in which she said “certain U.S. politicians and Russians share many common interests.””

  18. Anonymous July 22, 2018 at 7:53 am - Reply

    Russia’s Foreign Minister has held a telephone call with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in which he complained about the Americans’ arrest of a Russian woman on allegations of being a covert agent.

    U.S. prosecutors have accused Maria Butina of working to infiltrate political organizations, including the National Rifle Association, before and after Donald Trump’s election as president in 2016.

    Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov “stressed the unacceptability of the actions of the U.S. authorities who arrested Russian citizen Butina on the basis of fabricated charges, and the need for her early release,” the ministry said about the Saturday call.

    The two diplomats also “exchanged views on prospects for further building relations” in the wake of the Helsinki summit of Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, the ministry said.

    https://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/russia-fm-unacceptability-butina-arrest

  19. Anonymous July 22, 2018 at 7:59 am - Reply

    Accused spy Maria Butina was backed by Russian billionaire whose son had ties to Trump campaign: report

    Maria Butina, the Russian woman charged in federal court last week with acting as an unregistered agent of her government, received financial support from Konstantin Nikolaev, a Russian billionaire with investments in U.S. energy and technology companies, according to a person familiar with testimony she gave Senate investigators.

    Butina told the Senate Intelligence Committee in April that Nikolaev provided funding for a gun rights group she represented, according to the person. A spokesman for Nikolaev confirmed that he was in contact with her as she was launching the gun rights group in Russia between 2012 and 2014. He declined to confirm whether Nikolaev gave her financial support.

    Nikolaev’s fortune has been built largely through port and railroad investments in Russia. He also sits on the board of American Ethane, a Houston ethane company that was showcased by President Trump at an event in China last year, and is an investor in a Silicon Valley start-up.

    Nikolaev has never met Trump, according to his spokesman.

    However, Nikolaev’s son Andrey, who is studying in the United States, volunteered in the 2016 campaign in support of Trump’s candidacy, according a person familiar with his activities. Nikolaev was spotted at the Trump International Hotel in Washington during Trump’s inauguration in January 2017, according to two people aware of his presence.

    In a court filing last week, prosecutors said Butina’s emails and chat logs are full of references to a billionaire as the “funder” of her activities. They wrote that the billionaire is a “known Russian businessman with deep ties to the Russian Presidential Administration.”

    Prosecutors did not identify Butina’s funder by name but said he travels often to the United States and was listed by Forbes this year as having a net worth of $1.2 billion — which is the same as Nikolaev’s current listing.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/russian-billionaire-with-us-investments-backed-alleged-agent-maria-butina-according-to-a-person-familiar-with-her-senate-testimony/2018/07/22/dcaa7f48-8c58-11e8-a345-a1bf7847b375_story.html

  20. Anon July 22, 2018 at 8:19 am - Reply

    OT?
    “I can tell you that for a fact there are multiple tapes,” Avenatti revealed. “There are multiple tapes of President Trump, number one. That’s first of all. That ultimately is going to prove to be a big problem for the president.”
    “” “My accuracy rate over the last six months has been spot on in this case. And let me tell you this. If I’m wrong, then why don’t we have Mr. Trump or his attorneys come forward today, right now and claim there are no other tapes. You’re not going to hear that because there are other tapes. Period.”” {including @ least 1 GOPee Golden $hower T-ape($)}

    https://www.rawstory.com/2018/07/dont-interrupt-michael-avenatti-wipes-floor-alan-dershowitz-poor-record-accuracy/

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