By Evan Hurst as originally published over at Wonkette and reposted here with permission
Have you been enjoying the last 24 hours of the mainstream media suddenly realizing there’s a Russian intelligence asset in the White House, which is something we at Wonkette have known since October of 2016? Hilarious, right? Anyway, DOJ just found another Russian spy in its big “witch hunt.” Her name is Maria Butina and she was arrested on Sunday, because the feds were pretty sure she was about to run. Now she is being held in federal custody without bond.
Butina, who is being called a Russian gun rights activist in the news reels, has been indicted for being a total Russian spy who secretly worked to infiltrate the NRA and use it to create secret back channels between the Kremlin and the Republican party. WITCH HUNT!
Keep one idea in your head during this post, please: There is no such thing as a Russian gun rights activist, at least not in the way that we know it. They do not have a “second amendment” in Russia. It is not a gun culture. And Vladimir Putin’s political party certainly isn’t trying to Samantha Stephens one into existence! So it would follow that if a “Russian gun nut” is up in the NRA trying to create back channels, she is actually just a Russian spy who probably isn’t even that good at guns.
Here’s a little background on our newest indicted Russian spy!
Wonkette readers have met Butina before, as she has long been a known associate of another Russian, an oligarch named Aleksandr Torshin, a sanctioned individual who FOR SOME REASON is a lifetime member of the NRA; who has been under investigation for money laundering by Spanish authorities; and who dined with Donald Trump Jr. at the 2016 NRA convention in Louisville. (Butina schmoozed with Junior there too.) Torshin is not named in this indictment, but rather is alluded to as a “Russian official” who was Butina’s handler, so we guess his indictment is forthcoming.
Butina founded a Russian “gun group” called the Right To Bear Arms, and that group organized and helped to fund a very strange trip where American NRA gun-humpers like disgraced former Sheriff David Clarke went to Moscow the same weekend as that RT gala where Michael Flynn and Jill Stein drank toasts to Vladimir Putin’s sexxx body. The NRA delegation was there to meet with a Putin deputy named Dmitry Rogozin, who is a super-important part of the gun rights movement in Russia, HAHAHA JUST KIDDING, THERE IS NO GUN RIGHTS MOVEMENT IN RUSSIA. He does want the Russian Empire to rise again, though, to the point that he thinks Alaska should be returned to its rightful owner, which SURPRISE! is Russia.
Did we mention Trump’s current national security advisor John Bolton made a nice promo video for Butina’s “gun” group, about how he supported the “gun movement” in Russia?
Butina has long bragged about her ties to the Trump campaign, and she’s long been suspected of posing as a student at American University in DC as a cover for her Russian spy work. (She was here on an F-1 student visa, but it sounds like she didn’t do much homework, on account of how she was always busy spying. Anyway, she graduated this spring.)
Here she is asking Donald Trump to lift sanctions on Russia at an event way back in 2015:
Before we get into reading the indictment, we should note that it didn’t come from special counsel Robert Mueller’s office — indeed this investigation started before he was appointed. This just goes to show that no matter what Trump tries to do to Mueller, all the truth will still come out and the president is still going to be screwed.
OK LET’S LOOK AT THE INDICTMENT, FOR CRYIN’ OUT LOUD!
Let us learn about Butina’s work to infiltrate the NRA, which very strangely gave Donald Trump record-breaking amounts of money during the 2016 campaign, some of which might maybe have been laundered from Russia. (Remember that time Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson testified to Congress that the Russians had “infiltrated the NRA”? We do!)
As we noted above, the indictment alleges that Butina’s direct handler in the conspiracy was her boss, Aleksandr Torshin, whom it describes as “RUSSIAN OFFICIAL.” We should also note that there is a person in the indictment referred to as “U.S. Person 1,” who allegedly helped Butina with her shady spy work. The Washington Post reports that the indictment’s description of that person “matches that of Paul Erickson, a GOP consultant who sought to organize a meeting between then-candidate Donald Trump and Alexander Torshin, Butina’s Russian colleague and a former Russian senator, at a May 2016 NRA convention.” Here’s another factoid about Erickson:
Erickson was the one who wrote an email to the Trump campaign in May 2016 saying: “Happenstance and the (sometimes) international reach of the NRA placed me in a position a couple of years ago to slowly begin cultivating a back-channel to President Putin’s Kremlin.” https://t.co/LTnajL0E2m
— Natasha Bertrand (@NatashaBertrand) July 17, 2018
Erickson also advised the Trump transition team and PROBABLY should go ahead and get a lawyer if he hasn’t already.
There is also a “U.S. Person 2”:
We are guessing that U.S. Person 2 is Rick Clay, a West Virginia dude who reached out to Trump campaign idiot Rick Dearborn about setting up meetings with high-level Russians so they could talk about their “shared Christian values.” Strangely enough, it was Jared Kushner who hit the “NO” button on those meetings. (RELATED: Recently, we posited that a major angle to the Trump-Russia story would soon appear that involves American evangelicals and their Russian Orthodox counterparts, because American evangelicals have been desperately looking for white bigots to collaborate with ever since they lost the culture wars at home. That angle is coming into view, it appears!)
Here is the general outline of the conspiracy, as it got started:
How interesting that back in March of 2015, Maria Butina felt that “a major U.S. political party” would likely control the whole government after the 2016 election. (She is talking about the Republicans … unless she meant the Democrats because the only real collusion was with Hillary and the uraniums and Russia and the fake dossier, CHECKMATE liberals!) Wonder if she knew a certain orange-haired blob who was also a Russian intelligence asset was planning on coming down an escalator a couple months later to announce his candidacy by calling Mexican rapists.
Anyway, they embarked on infiltrating the GOP by infiltrating the NRA, because those are kind of the same thing, as the Parkland shooting survivors can tell you. In the March 2015 email posted above, Butina asked Paul Erickson for funding, so it’s worth noting that he and Butina actually did establish an LLC together in South Dakota in early 2016. (Hit that link if you want to get INTO THE WEEDS.)
Notably, the indictment alleges that much of Butina’s spying was predicated on the idea of the GOP strengthening relations with Russia in a “post-Putin world.” Isn’t that a handy way to get Republicans who normally love America and hate Putin to get in bed with Russian spies? “Seriously, mister! We don’t like that Putin guy! Conspire with us now so we can be ready for what happens after Putin! YOU BETCHA!”Speaking of conspiring, Butina and her boss Torshin canoodled at least one Republican congressman in Moscow in August 2015. Investigative journalist Scott Stedman confirms that the congressman in question was … wait for it … DANA ROHRABACHER! Read more about Rohrabacher’s life as a Russian intelligence asset right here!
But oh, what fun Butina had while spying in the United States! She made back channels that connected the Kremlin and the GOP and the NRA! She went to the National Prayer Breakfast in 2016 with Torshin, with the approval of the Russian Foreign Ministry! They went again in 2017 and even tried to get Vladimir Putin on the VIP guest list! (That ultimately did not work out but a bunch of other Russians came!) She organized “friendship and dialogue” dinners between Russians and GOP officials!
It appears that by March of 2016, Butina’s work had the explicit blessing of Torshin and the Putin government, for her spying and her back channels and her “Borscht ‘n’ Blab” dinners with the GOP:
By October 2016, Butina was expressing sorrow to Torshin in Twitter DMs that America was “broken” when it came to Russian relations, crying that one of the parties (the GOP) loves Russia, whereas the other party (the only party with any patriots left, apparently) hates Russia. BOO HOO. Weird that she was pretty sure the GOP had already fully sold its soul on Russia, though, isn’t it? The night of the election, Butina asked Torshin for FURTHER ORDERS, but noted that she was going to go nighty night first:
Remember a couple months back when Jane Mayer reported in The New Yorker about a Christopher Steele memo that alleged that Mitt Romney was originally Trump’s first choice for secretary of State, but the Kremlin vetoed it? This line from the indictment will interest you:
Wonder the Kremlin used any of Maria Butina’s back channels to say NO!
And there is so much more, but you’ll have to read the indictment for yourself if you want to learn it.
HAVE FUN IN JAIL, MARIA BUTINA! We trust that you will be there for a long time!