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Re: Maria Butina

PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2018 3:17 pm
by seemslikeadream
Court filing just revealed Butina is ready to flip on co-conspirator

Prosecutors seeking to keep Butina jailed until trial just dropped a bombshell.

Maria Butina and her handler, Russian deputy Central Banker Alexander Torshin in Washington, D.C.
A new filing by federal prosecutors just revealed that suspected Russian spy Maria Butina has offered information to authorities about the illegal activities of her co-conspirator, a man with whom she is romantically involved.
Paul Erickson is a long-time Republican political operative, and he entered a romantic relationship with Butina after meeting her at an October 2013 could conference for her gun lobby group “Right to Bear Arms” in Moscow.
Erickson assisted Butina’s operation to infiltrate and influence the National Rifle Association and setup a back channel for communication to the Russian government, which lies at the heart of prosecutors criminal complaint against her for conspiracy to act as an unregistered foreign agent.

Butina’s lover, alleged co-conspirator and GOP insider Paul Erickson.
Prosecutors are seeking to keep Butina in custody, and late last night, the filed a motion in opposition to her efforts for pre-trial release detailing the Russian government’s over-the-top efforts in her case, and noting that she has no ties to America, other suspected Russian agents have fled bail even without passports.
When they explained why Maria Butina’s “love interest” in Paul Erickson is insufficient to merit release and not a positive tie to America, that’s when they dropped a bombshell.

Prosecutors note that she recently offered information on Erickson’s activities.
Maria Butina’s email and a Direct Message communications form the primary basis of what we know about the criminal charges against her, but Erickson has yet to be publicly charged with the crime in which he is named as a co-conspirator.
But his Russian girlfriend certainly could have reason to be upset with Erickson, seeing as he neatly organized evidence of their allegedly criminal activities, which prosecutors also revealed in last night’s filing.

It is highly unlikely that a DC federal judge will grant bail to a Russian national whose home county has no extradition treaty and a deep interest in her rapid return to Moscow.
But last night’s filing just revealed that Maria Butina may be more interested in a rapid return home than keeping state secrets, and she might be ready turn in her American boyfriend Erickson.
Butina faces up to 15 years incarceration if convicted on all charges.
Read the complete court filing here: ... 6b5d4e83a4

Re: Maria Butina

PostPosted: Tue Sep 18, 2018 11:27 am
by seemslikeadream
Why Russians Keep Visiting Mariia Butina in Prison

Take it from this former spook: It ain’t because they’re concerned about her well-being.

Edward-Isaac DovereSeptember 17, 2018
A courtroom sketch of Mariia Butina at her trial.
Dana Verkouteren via AP
Since her arrest in Washington, D.C., in July, Mariia Butina, the gun-slinging Russian student accused by the U.S. government of being a spy for her Motherland, has been languishing in a jail cell. Earlier this month, in documents arguing Butina should be held in detention because she is a flight risk, prosecutors revealed that Butina has gotten quite a bit of attention from top Russian officials.

According to the prosecution’s filing, the Russian government has conducted six consular visits to Butina and passed four diplomatic notes to the U.S. Department of State about her case. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has spoken twice to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to complain about Butina’s incarceration and prosecution. As prosecutors noted, in the days following Butina’s arrest, the official Kremlin Twitter account changed its avatar to a picture of her and launched #FreeMariaButina. RT—a Russian news outlet funded by the Russian government—has written a number of articles about her, decrying her prosecution and detention. According to prosecutors, “Russia has issued more diplomatic notes on the defendant’s behalf in the past month than for any other Russian citizen imprisoned in the United States in the past year. Put simply, the Russian government has given this case much more attention than other cases.”

As a former intelligence officer, I found these details intriguing. It seems likely that Russian officials visiting Butina in prison are looking to protect more than just the rights of a Russian citizen. They are looking to protect their ongoing intelligence operations. To that larger end, they likely have several goals in mind:

1. To assess the damage

Russian officials are likely assessing the damage from Butina’s discovery and arrest. They want to know what exactly the U.S. intelligence community knows about Butina’s activities and contacts, and what, if anything, Butina told them. This information will allow Russian intelligence to gauge if any other assets or operations might be compromised.

They can glean some of this from the prosecution’s court documents. For example, prosecutors detailed some of Butina’s correspondence, which read like operational cables. In one, she discusses establishing an “even more trusting relationship” with a U.S. person (who remains unnamed in the filings), which is language straight out of any intelligence service’s training manual on developing a source.

Additionally, Butina and her American lover and possible co-conspirator, Republican operative Paul Erickson—who is referred to in court filings only as US Person 1—and Alexander Torshin—a high-level Russian official referred to as “the Russian Official”—left quite a data trail, like emails, Twitter Direct Messages, and thumb drives. U.S. investigators now have that information, including phone numbers associated with the FSB—one of Russia’s intelligence services—and names and contact information for Russian officials with whom Butina communicated.

But beyond that, Russian officials likely want to know: Has Butina talked? Is she telling U.S. investigators more than what they already know? Or even confirming information they already have? Although Butina certainly does not have a big picture view of Russian intelligence operations in the United States, she may inadvertently give away details that seem innocuous to her but actually fill in pieces for investigators. Put simply, Russian officials want to know: Has she given anything away?

2. To reassure Butina

Russian officials also likely want to reassure Butina in order to keep her quiet. In convincing her they are doing everything in their power to get her out and get her home to Russia, they are attempting to stop her from sharing more information than perhaps she already has.

Prosecutors noted, after all, that Butina offered information on Erickson’s illegal activities, despite the defense counsel’s insistence that Butina and Erickson are in a committed relationship. Russian officials would want to make sure she doesn’t give away any information that might compromise Russian intelligence activities. They might even be coaching her on what to say.

3. To send a signal to other assets

Furthermore, top level and frequent attention to Butina might be a signal to reassure other Russian assets. It is the kiss of death for any intelligence service to leave an asset to perish. The message it would send to both potential and current assets would be fatal. Why would anyone risk working for an intelligence service that doesn’t protect its assets? Russia must signal its intent to help Butina, or risk losing other sources.

Indeed, it is a wonder that the Russian government allowed Butina to be arrested at all. She, Erickson, and Torshin had ample evidence the noose was tightening long before her arrest. According to court documents, in early 2017, they discussed the fact that a reporter had begun asking questions about them. Butina told Torshin, “Somebody really threw the three of us under the bus. Furthermore, this someone is well informed.”

Why didn’t the Russians whisk her home at that point?

It is possible that pulling Butina out too soon would have set off alarm bells and alerted U.S. authorities that Russian officials were nervous, which in turn would have signaled that Butina was involved in an important operation. Maybe the Russians thought they could lie low and it would pass. Or maybe allowing her to get caught had few consequences, and perhaps even helped the larger Russian objective of causing disruption in American politics. Or maybe this was intentional: Allowing Butina to be arrested has diverted attention from other operations.

Another explanation—and these are not mutually exclusive—might be Russia’s warped view of U.S. democracy and the power of the president. Having never spent time in a functioning democracy, Vladimir Putin cannot fathom that a president does not have absolute power. It might have never crossed his mind that those pesky checks and balances, such as law enforcement, are not just decoration, as they are for him at home. Perhaps he thought Butina would be safe. ... son-220061

Re: Maria Butina

PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2018 7:23 am
by seemslikeadream
Venture Capital
Sep 2
Well... looks like we found one more reason why the
has been so silent about Maria Butina and why David Keene stepped down as President. Who was the 5M bbl of oil actually for Why was Donna, Keene’s wife, arranging a jet fuel deal?

Report: Former NRA President’s Wife Sought Jet Fuel Deal With Maria Butina

Report: Former NRA President’s Wife Sought Jet Fuel Deal With Maria Butina

Alexandria Sheriff's Office/Handout via Reuters
The wife of David Keene, a former president of the National Rifle Association, reportedly offered accused Russian spy Maria Butina $1 million to secure a massive amount of Russian jet fuel for an American middleman in a harebrained scheme that got Butina reported to the FBI. According to emails detailing the failed plan obtained by The New York Times, Donna Keene, a Washington lobbyist, reached out to Butina in the spring of 2017 on behalf of a man in Virginia seeking five million barrels of jet fuel—nearly double the amount exported by all of Russia’s refineries in a month. Keene pressed Butina to use her contacts in Russia to get the fuel, at one point suggesting a “soft corporate offer” to Gazprom, according to the report. Butina, who was reportedly coached in her dealings with Keene by her boyfriend, Republican operative Paul Erickson, turned on the charm to seek out prospects for the jet fuel in her homeland, at one point trying to enlist the help of a coffee bean trader. Ultimately, however, the plan fell apart because, according to one Israeli-American businessman familiar with the scheme, Butina and Erickson didn’t “know what they’re talking about.” After several failed meetings with potential partners—often with the help of Keene—a new prospective buyer reported Butina and Erickson to the FBI out of concerns the whole thing was a scam. ... ria-butina

Venture Capital
Venture Capital
Sep 2
Just a coincidence, I’m sure. Trump Shuttle closed for a few reasons- one of them was rising fuel prices. Let’s say you knew that there would be a MidEast or Venezuelan crisis Fuel prices would rise... think how much your jet fuel bought at wholesale would be worth
Oct 7
Any chance that the David Keene & Maria Butina jet fuel deal has anything to do w the jet fuel that was being laundered by Russians to Syria in violation of US sanctions cc


Russian and Syrian Nationals Charged With Laundering Millions of U.S. Dollars for Designated...

First pic- info on Indictment for Russia - Syria jet fuel deal. A shell company Maritime Assistance LLC was discovered. They were looking for a new clean company. Voila- was Keene & Butina the NEW clean LLC? Look at info in 2nd pic for 2017

23CED92D-39C1-403E-8833-AC8513DFE4A1.jpeg ... 1174750208

Bellingcat and The Insider publishes the identity of the second Skripal suspect, Dr. Alexander Yevgenyevich Mishkin, a trained military doctor in the employ of the GRU


Second Skripal Poisoning Suspect Identified as Dr. Alexander Mishkin - bellingcat
1:30 PM · Oct 8, 2018
Replying to
Skripal suspect Alexander Mishkin was born on 13.07.1979 in the village of Loyga, in the Archangelsk District in Northern European Russia.
Embedded video
He studied and graduated from one of Russia’s elite Military Medical Academies, and was trained as a military doctor for the Russian naval armed forces. Mishkin was recruited by the GRU, and by 2010 had relocated to Moscow.


In the full report, which will be published on Tuesday at 13:00, we will publish the full method by which Mishkin was identified, as well as witness testimony from various sources.
Bellingcat and the Insider have interviewed multiple sources familiar with Mishkin, both in St. Petersburg and in his native Loyga. The full report will ... 0881398785

Re: Maria Butina

PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2018 4:55 pm
by seemslikeadream
Maria Butina, Accused Of Being A Russian Agent, May Be In Talks For Plea Deal

Carrie Johnson
November 16, 20181:07 PM ET

Maria Butina, a Russian woman who has been in custody since the summer facing charges that she is a foreign agent, may conclude a plea agreement with prosecutors.

STR/AFP/Getty Images
Prosecutors are negotiating a potential plea agreement with the Russian woman who was charged over the summer with being a clandestine foreign agent.

The U.S. attorney's office for Washington, D.C., said in a court filing that its lawyers are in talks with counsel for the woman, Maria Butina, who also was charged with alleged conspiracy.

Her lawyers have said she is simply a naive young woman who was "jabbering" about her efforts to influence U.S. politicians.

A spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office declined to comment on the filing because the case remains pending.

The judge in the case also has imposed a gag order on all parties involved after some earlier comments to journalists.

Butina was arrested in July in Washington, D.C., as she was preparing to move away, prosecutors said. She has been linked with a number of attempts to influence the political establishment in the United States, many using her long-standing support of gun rights.

In 2016, for example, Butina's boyfriend, Republican fundraiser Paul Erickson, contacted people on Donald Trump's presidential campaign with an offer to set up a back-channel relationship with the Russian government via the National Rifle Association.

Butina appears to have reported back to a Russian government official, Alexander Torshin, who also spent years cultivating relationships with the NRA and Republican politicians.

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Torshin was placed under sanction by the Treasury Department and is now barred from returning to the United States.

Butina also sought relationships with other important figures in the world of conservative politics, including the National Prayer Breakfast, and she attended Trump's inauguration in early 2017. ... -plea-deal

Re: Maria Butina

PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2018 9:49 am
by seemslikeadream
If charged under Section 951, as DOJ is considering, Erickson could be the first American embroiled in the Russia situation to face an espionage charge

Feds Target Butina’s GOP Boyfriend as Foreign Agent

Paul Erickson served as accused Kremlin spy Maria Butina’s guide as she penetrated the American conservative movement. Now he’s under investigation as a Russian agent, too.

12.05.18 8:00 AM ET
Paul Erickson, a longtime Republican politico whose Russian girlfriend is in jail on charges she acted as a covert foreign agent, has been informed that he may face similar accusations. The Daily Beast reviewed a so-called “target letter” that federal investigators sent Erickson’s lawyer, which said they are considering bringing charges against him under Section 951 of the U.S. code—the law barring people from secretly acting as agents of foreign governments.

The letter also said the government may bring a conspiracy charge against Erickson, who is the boyfriend of accused foreign agent Maria Butina. The letter, which was sent in September by investigators working out of the U.S. attorney’s office in Washington, does not accuse Erickson of any crimes or guarantee that he will face charges.

If prosecutors bring the charges named in the letter, Erickson would be the first American charged under a statute Justice Department lawyers describe as “espionage-lite.”

“Charging an American under 951 in the context of the Russia investigation is especially serious because that statute is generally reserved for espionage-like cases, such as intelligence-gathering on behalf of a foreign government,” said Ryan Goodman, a former Defense Department attorney who now teaches at the New York University School of Law.

“Essentially what it would say is that an American was acting to advance the interests of a foreign power, contrary to the interests of the United States of America,” said Renato Mariotti, a former federal prosecutor.

A person familiar with the investigation told The Daily Beast that federal law enforcement officers have interviewed people in Erickson’s orbit, some of whom provided statements to the FBI. Law enforcement officials asked those sources about the former political insider’s business dealings and his reputation in conservative political circles, according to that person. As The Daily Beast previously reported, several of Erickson’s former business partners have claimed he defrauded them. The U.S. attorney’s office in South Dakota is currently leading an investigation into those claims.

Justice Department investigators aren’t the only ones interested in Erickson. Staff on the Senate intelligence committee, who are probing Russian meddling in the 2016 American elections, have also asked to speak with him. But a lawyer for Erickson told them he would plead the Fifth Amendment if subpoenaed to testify, a source familiar with those communications confirmed to The Daily Beast. Investigators will not force Erickson to appear just to take the Fifth. William Hurd, who is representing Erickson on the Senate intelligence committee matter, declined to comment.

According to The New York Times, Erickson wrote an email to the Trump campaign in May 2016 offering to set up a back-channel meeting between the candidate and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“Putin is deadly serious about building a good relationship with Mr. Trump,” Erickson wrote, according to the Times. “He wants to extend an invitation to Mr. Trump to visit him in the Kremlin before the election.”

By then, Erickson had known Butina for years. Butina, a gun rights activist from Russia, attended grad school at American University while building relationships in the American conservative movement, with Erickson often serving as her guide.

The pair made no secret of their affinity for Russia. As The Daily Beast previously reported, at her birthday party, she dressed as a Russian empress and he dressed as Rasputin. Guests drank vodka from a bottle emblazoned with a hammer and sickle.

And as Butina built relationships with conservative leaders, Erickson didn’t exactly keep his role under wraps. According to court documents filed by the prosecutors charging Butina, someone called “Person 1” and widely believed to be Erickson boasted to that he was involved in “securing a VERY private line of communication between the Kremlin” and the Republican Party.

The two also worked together on various other projects, including a deal to secure Russian jet fuel for an American middleman. Erickson and Butina worked on the failed business venture with Donna Keene, the wife of former NRA president David Keene, in 2017.

William Hurd of Troutman Sanders, a lawyer for Erickson, declined to comment. A spokesperson for the U.S. attorney’s office in D.C. declined to comment as well.

The U.S. Attorney’s Manual recommends that prosecutors send target letters to alert people they are in the feds’ sights.

“At the least, it’s a preliminary determination that they’re going to proceed to indictment,” said Sol Wisenberg, the co-chair of the white collar practice at Nelson Mullins.

Wisenberg said that while people can generally expect to be indicted within a few months of receiving a target letter, there’s no firm rule on how quickly any indictment should follow, if at all.

If investigators charge Erickson under Section 951, he could be the first American publicly accused of acting (or trying to act) as an agent of a foreign government in connection with Russia’s 2016 interference. Other Americans roped up in Russia investigations—including former Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort and lobbyist Sam Patten—have faced charges for illegal lobbying, in violation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act. But 951 is different. It’s a rare charge, and the Justice Department’s inspector general wrote in 2016 that prosecutors in its elite National Security Division describe it as “espionage-lite.”

“[A] Section 951 case generally involves espionage-like or clandestine behavior or an otherwise provable connection to an intelligence service, or information gathering or procurement-type activity on behalf of a foreign government,” the inspector general wrote.

Prosecutors in the D.C. U.S. attorney’s office charged Butina with violating Section 951.

Butina said on several occasions that she helped facilitate communications between the Trump campaign and Russia, multiple sources told The Daily Beast for a February 2017 story. In July, the D.C. U.S. attorney’s office charged her with acting as a covert foreign agent and conspiring to commit a crime. Both those charges are also identified in the Erickson target letter.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller is not handling Butina’s prosecution. A spokesperson for his office declined to comment on why that is.

Butina is currently in an Alexandria, Virginia, jail. Erickson visits her there regularly, two individuals with knowledge of the meetings told The Daily Beast. ... eign-agent

If Accused Russian Spy Maria Butina Sings, Here’s What She Might Tell the Feds

New court filing signals a plea agreement could be nearing.

Hannah LevintovaNovember 29, 2018 4:25 PM

Accused Russian spy and gun rights activist Maria Butina is getting closer to cutting a deal with the US government. That’s what both her lawyers and the Justice Department explained in a court filing on Wednesday, where they wrote that they “remain optimistic” about resolving this case without a trial. The filing comes two weeks after federal prosecutors first revealed that they are negotiating a plea deal with Butina.

The 30-year-old Butina, once a graduate student at American University, was arrested in July and charged with working as an unregistered foreign agent on behalf of the Kremlin. Prosecutors have alleged that Butina’s cultivation of connections within the upper echelons of the National Rifle Association was part of an official Kremlin effort, while her lawyers have contended she was just a starry-eyed student “fantasizing about a future career in diplomacy and jabbering about personal events and peacebuilding aspirations.”

Butina was regularly in contact with top Russian and American officials. These include Alexander Torshin, a sanctioned Russian banker and politician with close ties to President Putin; Trump campaign adviser J.D. Gordon; now White House National Security adviser John Bolton; one-time NRA president David Keene; and GOP consultant Paul Erickson, among others. Though the Butina case is separate from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, her cooperation could no doubt shed light on issues of interest to his probe or congressional inquiries. Several of her connections, including Torshin, Erickson, and Gordon, have also become ensnared in the Trump-Russia saga, being asked to submit documents or sit for interviews with the special counsel team or Senate investigators.

In the event that Butina makes a deal to cooperate with Justice Department prosecutors, they could learn a lot. Here are just a few of the mysteries that Butina could help shed light on.

1. Did Russian sources give the National Rifle Association any money intended to help Trump’s campaign? The NRA donated $30 million to Trump’s 2016 campaign, and both the FBI and the Federal Elections Commission are now reportedly investigating whether some of these funds came by way of Russian sources. Foreign entities cannot legally contribute to federal elections.

McClatchy has reported that in connection with such questions the FBI is looking at Alexander Torshin, a former Russian politician from President Vladimir Putin’s political party who now helps lead Russia’s central bank. Torshin was also Butina’s collaborator as the pair cultivated ties to the NRA beginning in 2013. Two years prior, Butina created the Right to Bear Arms, a Russian gun rights group modeled after the NRA. Torshin became an avid supporter of the group, introducing gun rights legislation in Russian parliament. In 2013, they invited then NRA-president David Keene to Moscow for a 200-person meeting of their organization. Former UN ambassador John Bolton, a onetime member of NRA international affairs subcommittee, also came to Moscow, where he recorded a video with Butina promoting Russian gun rights. Now that Bolton is Trump’s national security adviser, Democrats have raised questions about whether he properly disclosed his work with Butina when applying for his latest security clearance.

Paul Erickson, an NRA member and Republican operative, joined Keene and Bolton on the Russia trip. Erickson returned in 2014 and then in 2015, again with Keene. Torshin, who attended every NRA convention from 2012 through 2016, was joined by Butina at the 2014 and 2015 conventions, where they met top Republican operatives.

Prosecutors now allege that Torshin was, in fact, directing Butina’s gun rights networking in the US, as part of a Russian influence effort. If the government wants to get to the bottom of whether the NRA was getting Russian money to boost Trump, Butina may possess valuable information about Torshin’s role in the alleged scheme.

2. Why did Butina’s lover try to make a Kremlin introduction to the Trump campaign? Following his visit to Russia in 2013, Butina and Erickson struck up a romance; the pair say they’ve been a couple ever since. Over the course of their relationship, Erickson, touting his NRA connections, made several moves aimed at connecting the Trump campaign to the Kremlin by way of Torshin.

In May 2016, the longtime GOP operative from South Dakota sent a note to Trump campaign adviser Rick Dearborn with the subject line “Kremlin Connection.” In it, he asked Dearborn and Sen. Jeff Sessions, then advising the campaign on foreign policy, for help in connecting candidate Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, who Erickson said wanted to invite Trump for a pre-election Kremlin visit. He offered that thanks to the NRA’s reach, he was in a position to “begin cultivating a back-channel to President Putin’s Kremlin.” Erickson also suggested that Trump could meet a Putin emissary, which appears to be Torshin, during the upcoming NRA annual meeting. Dearborn sent the request up to the highest echelons of the Trump campaign—Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner, and campaign chairman Paul Manafort—noting that Torshin wanted “to discuss an offer he claims to be carrying from President Putin to meet with DJT.” (It is unclear if this meeting took place; an adviser close to the Trump campaign told the New York Times that Trump did not attend the reception in question.)

Erickson’s offers to the campaign have since attracted investigator’s attention: The Senate Judiciary Committee has sent letters to the Trump campaign’s foreign policy advisers asking for documents related to Erickson and Torshin, and also to Erickson himself, requesting that he submit documents and sit for an interview as part of the Russia probe.

Butina, as Torshin’s collaborator and as Erickson’s partner, was smack dab in the middle of this effort in May 2016. In fact, during this same month, Butina herself was part of a group that unsuccessfully sought a meeting with the Trump campaign. So it’s likely she could shed light on Erickson’s and the NRA’s efforts to connect Trump’s campaign and the Kremlin.

3. What motivated Butina’s persistent lobbying of Republican officials, including Trump, for further cooperation with Russia, and who else was involved? Were her entreaties to GOP leaders just the well-intentioned efforts of an aspiring diplomat? Or was she, as prosecutors allege, acting as part of an official Russian effort to influence the GOP establishment?

Butina’s record of lobbying on behalf of Russia is well-documented and extensive. Following the 2015 NRA convention in Nashville, Butina posted a photo with Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker on Vkontakte (Russia’s version of Facebook), noting that he was a likely presidential nominee and that their meeting could be a “beginning of a new dialogue between Russia and the US.” A few months later, Butina penned an article for the conservative National Interest, urging friendship between “the bear and the elephant” and adding: “It may take the election of a Republican to the White House in 2016 to improve relations between the Russian Federation and the United States.”

In July 2015, Butina tried to secure a meeting with Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, routing her request through Paul Erickson, the South Dakota GOP operative she’s been reportedly dating for five years. Erickson reached out to Trump campaign official Sam Nunberg to try to get Butina a meeting with the candidate at an campaign stop in Las Vegas. Though the campaign declined, Butina went to the event. During the audience Q&A, she asked Trump a question about whether he had plans to continue Russian sanctions, which Butina called “damaging” to both the American and Russia economies. Trump reassured her that he didn’t think the sanctions were needed. In May 2016, as the NRA hosted its convention in Louisville, Butina briefly met with Donald Trump Jr., and gave a speech at a NRA fundraiser involving Kentucky Republican Gov. Matt Bevin.

US prosecutors allege Butina’s persistence and savvy in pursuing such relationships is not her independent effort, but rather part of an official operation to advance Russian interests, with Torshin as an intermediary guiding Butina. If they’re right, her cooperation could help prosecutors understand who linked to Russia was coordinating her efforts, and, crucially, what else they were up to. ... nt-coming/

Re: Maria Butina

PostPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2018 12:54 pm
by seemslikeadream
Zoe Tillman

Verified account

Follow Follow @ZoeTillman
Judge is holding a last-minute conference in alleged Russian agent Maria Butina's case. A brief portion was on the record, Butina's lawyer said they're okay cancelling a status conference set for 12/19, anticipate not needing to pursue a subpoena, then asked to seal the hearing ... 7870863360

Re: Maria Butina

PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2018 3:00 am
by American Dream
Maria Butina’s Case Winds Down as Intrigue Around Her Lover Heats Up

The NRA component of the larger Russia story is not going anywhere


Maria Butina, leader of a pro-gun organization in Russia, speaks to a crowd during a rally in support of legalising the possession of handguns in Moscow, Russia, 2013.

The case of alleged Russian agent Maria Butina, who infiltrated the NRA to gain access to GOP leaders and the Trump campaign, may be nearing its conclusion. Legal maneuvers in the case indicate a settlement is being negotiated between the government and Butina’s team, which was bolstered by the appointment this week of a public defender working as her “advisory counsel.” The current charges levied against Butina carry a maximum sentence of 15 years.

The negotiation — revealed in a late-November joint filing asking for a pause in the case, allowing the parties to finalize “a pretrial resolution of this matter” — comes as Butina remains in solitary confinement in an Alexandria, Virginia, jail. (She was placed in “administrative segregation” shortly before Thanksgiving, allegedly after passing her lawyers’ phone number to another inmate.)

In late November, Butina attorney Robert Driscoll filed a motion seeking to have Butina returned to the general jail population, arguing that the “prolonged deprivation of human contact and interaction is starting to have a profound psychological impact on Ms. Butina.” Driscoll described Butina as being locked up for 22 hours per day “in a steel-door cage the size of a parking space” and warned that “unless the court intervenes, she will… ultimately require the attention of mental health professionals.” Judge Tanya Chutkan rejected the motion, insisting she could not overturn internal jail-staff decisions based on “hearsay conversations and speculation” by Butina’s counsel.

Maria Butina, Alexandria, Va., Aug 17, 2018.

The news that Butina is negotiating with the feds follows a September filing by prosecutors that indicated Butina was prepared to flip on her boyfriend — the fifty-something NRA- and GOP-operative Paul Erickson. According to the feds, Butina had “offered to provide information to the government about his illegal activities.”

Now, just as the legal case against Butina appears to be winding down, the government’s scrutiny of Erickson is ramping up. In a past filing in the Butina case, the government wrote that Erickson “has aided the defendant’s charged criminal activity for years” including playing an “integral role in the defendant’s efforts to establish an informal line of communication between the Kremlin and the incoming Presidential Administration.”

Erickson sent an infamous email to a top Trump campaign official in May 2016 slugged “Kremlin Connection,” seeking to use the setting of the 2016 NRA annual convention to establish “first contact” between Trump and Butina’s alleged handler, the Russian Central Banker and NRA life member Alexander Torshin. (Torshin and Butina would meet with Donald Trump, Jr. instead.) ... nt-766353/

Re: Maria Butina

PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2018 2:42 pm
by seemslikeadream
Maria Butina just brought the house down on Donald Trump, the GOP, the NRA, and Russia

Court Filing Suggests Plea Deal Has Been Reached In Butina Case

By Tierney Sneed
December 10, 2018 10:57 am
Prosecutors and Maria Butina — a Russian national who’s been accused of being an unregistered foreign agent — requested Monday that a judge schedule a hearing this week so that Butina can change her plea. The filing was a suggestion that Butina and prosecutors may have reached a plea deal in the case.

Butina had pleaded not guilty to the charge, brought by prosecutors in July.

There have been previous signs that Butina and prosecutors were working on a resolution — namely in a November request seeking delays in court filing deadlines as the parties worked on a “pretrial resolution.”

“The parties have resolved this matter,” the court filing Monday said.

Read the filing below: ... utina-case


I'm going to post a few documents for the benefit of the fucking idiots out there who like to weigh in on Russia w/o knowing what they're talking about. Remember Anna Chapman? Most famous RU spy in last decade? Here's her docket:

Docket for United States v. Chapman, 1:10-mj-01389 -

The most famous RU spy in US in last decade was charged w/conspiracy to act as agent of foreign power before she was whisked a way in a spy swap. (AKA, a swap of spies.)

Remember Evgeny Buryakov? He's not so sexy as Maria Butina and was kind of a dolt. But is now well known as one of the SVR unofficial cover spies who recruited Carter Page. The tip off here is SVR: It's a spying agent.

Here's his guilty plea.

The charge? Conspiracy to act in the US as an agent of a foreign govt. His 951 charge got dismissed as part of a plea deal.


#157 in United States v. Buryakov (S.D.N.Y., 1:15-cr-00073) –

Now, admittedly, there's something different about Maria Butina from the most famous two incidences of RU spying in the US in the last decade. Unlike Anna Chapman and Evgeny Burykova, Butina is pleading to have spied *with an American,* Paul Erickson, a connected GOPer.

Now I know there are some -- what shall I call them? Buffoons? Who cite Butina's guilty plea to same charge used w/last 2 most famous RU spies in the US as proof that her plea has nothing to do with espionage. Their arg is "bc she's pleading to the spying charge she's not a spy."

The very same buffoons were wailing today "there's no conspiracy with Republicans and Russians."

Now, in addition to arguing that pleading guilty to the charge used with spies proves it has nothing to do with spying, they're saying conspiracy has nothing to do w/conspiracy. ... 1208209408

Maria Butina Agrees to Cooperate With U.S.
Butina has inked an agreement with prosecutors and becomes the first Russian since the 2016 election to confess to a crime connected to efforts to influence American politics.
Betsy Woodruff
12.10.18 6:10 PM ET
Trump Russia Probe

Maria Butina, a Russian national who cultivated relationships with powerful American conservative activists, agreed Monday to plead guilty to conspiring to violate laws prohibiting covert foreign agents. As part of her agreement, which was reviewed by The Daily Beast, she has promised to cooperate with American law enforcement.

As a result of the deal, Butina will become the first Russian national since the 2016 election to plead guilty to a crime connected to efforts to influence American politics. After running a gun rights organization in Russia, she moved to the United States, where she spent years building relationships with conservatives in hopes of influencing a future Republican presidential administration. During the campaign season, she questioned then-candidate Donald Trump about sanctions; built relationships in the upper echelons of the American gun rights community; arranged for NRA leaders to travel to Moscow; and bragged that she was a channel between Team Trump and the Kremlin, as The Daily Beast first revealed.

She also struck up a romance with Paul Erickson, a longtime Republican gadfly close to NRA leaders. He sang Disney songs with her on camera, called her his “Siberian princess” in emails reviewed by The Daily Beast, and—since her July arrest—has visited her regularly in jail.

In March 2015, according to the plea deal, Butina worked with an unnamed U.S. person—known to be Erickson—to draft a proposal for a diplomatic endeavor. Given the fraught relationships between the governments of Russia and the United States, she “cast herself as a possible unofficial transmitter of communications” between the two countries.

Noting that she had recently attended the conference of an unnamed gun rights group—known to be the NRA—she said she had “laid the groundwork for an unofficial channel of communication with the next U.S. administration,” which she predicted would be Republican. And she asked for a Russian billionaire to give her $125,000 to fund efforts to attend conferences and befriend political power-brokers. She sent the proposal to several people, including an official on the Russian central bank known to be Alexander Torshin. The central bank official told her the proposal “would be supported, at least in part.”

Butina helped arrange a trip to Moscow for NRA leaders in December 2015. She pushed for those Americans to visit with senior Russian politicians, according to the plea deal. The Americans on the trip met with Sergey Lavrov, Russia’s powerful minister of foreign affairs; and Dmitry Rogozin, a deputy of Vladimir Putin and a subject of U.S. sanctions.

After the trip, Butina sent a message to the central bank official in Russian that has two translations in the plea agreement.

“We should let them express their gratitude now, we will put pressure on them quietly later,” reads the first translation.

“We should allow them to express their gratitude now, and then quietly press,” reads the second.

Butina also befriended a wealthy, well-connected American who invited her to a “friendship dinner” where he and his peers would discuss U.S.-Russia relations. The deal does not name that American. Before going to the dinner, she emailed its host to say Torshin “is very impressed by you and expresses his great appreciation for what you are doing to restore the relations between the two countries. He also wants you to know that Russians will support the efforts from our side.”

Butina attended several of these “friendship dinners,” according to the plea deal, where she built relationships with powerful Americans and honed her abilities to influence them.

She also helped arrange for a group of Russians to attend the National Prayer Breakfast, which was held on Feb. 2, 2017, according to the plea deal. She emailed Erickson with a list of attendees and said they were coming to the breakfast “to establish a back channel of communication.” Erickson later emailed the list to another person. “Reaction to the delegation’s presence in America will be conveyed DIRECTLY” to Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, he wrote. He cc’d Butina on that email.

During her time in the U.S., Butina updated Torshin on her meetings and conversations. At one point, she asked him whether the Russian “government” was ready to meet with certain, unnamed people.

Accused Russian Spy Told American CEO: Send Cash to Moscow

Betsy Woodruff

In July of this year, Butina was arrested and charged on two counts: acting as a covert agent of a foreign government, and conspiring to break federal law by doing so. The specific charge for acting as a foreign agent is colloquially known as Section 951. It’s often confused with the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), but the two are separate. FARA bars secret foreign lobbying, while DOJ lawyers refer to Section 951 as “espionage-lite.” She has only pleaded guilty to the second count, conspiracy. The defense’s estimated sentence for this conviction, according to the plea deal, is up to six months. She has already spent almost five months in jail.

Butina, who turned 30 while incarcerated at the Alexandria Detention Center just south of Washington, has become a figure of geopolitical consequence and international intrigue. The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Twitter account made her picture its avatar, along with the hashtag #FreeMariaButina. They claimed she was a political prisoner and a victim of Russophobia. Some Americans—including Kentucky Republican Rep. Thomas Massie—gave credence to that view.

Earlier this week The Daily Beast reported Erickson has received a “target letter” from federal investigators which says they are considering bringing charges against him under Section 951 of the U.S. code—the law barring people from secretly acting as agents of foreign governments.

Butina had once hobnobbed with the stars of the Republican firmament, getting pictures of herself with Gov. Scott Walker, Donald Trump Jr., NRA chief Wayne LaPierre, former Gov. Bobby Jindal, former Sen. Rick Santorum, and former NRA president David Keene. On July 11, 2015, Butina was in Las Vegas at an early rally for Trump’s embryonic presidential campaign, and asked the future president a question about Russian sanctions. Trump gave a surprisingly detailed answer. A year and a half later, she attended the invitation-only Freedom Ball after Trump’s inauguration.

In jail, the quasi-glamor of Washington turned to a nightmare. Like thousands of incarcerated Americans, she struggled with depression and claustrophobia, according to court filings from her lawyers, who say that jail officials never clearly explained why they placed her in solitary confinement for a second stint that began late last month. She was still in solitary when she signed the plea deal.

Feds Target Butina’s GOP Boyfriend in ‘Espionage’ Case

Betsy Woodruff,
Erin Banco

As part of her deal, she has committed to cooperating with American law enforcement “in any and all to matters as to which the Government deems this cooperation relevant.”

Her future is hazy. She may be welcomed in her home country as a celebrity, as a spy named Anna Chapman was after she was deported from the U.S. in 2010. But Butina could also face a darker homecoming; by the time she returns, if she keeps the deal, she may have spent hours sharing information with the FBI. And Torshin has left his central bank post––meaning her closest known ally has lost most of his power.

Without Butina, Erickson’s future looks rough. He remains a target of the feds, and sources close to him tell The Daily Beast he’s struggling to keep up with his legal bills.

Re: Maria Butina

PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2018 9:30 am
by seemslikeadream
Rockefeller heir George O’Neill is Russia agent Maria Butina's ‘U.S. Person 2 & Rohrabacher's in this, too: Reports
5 months ago

The U.S. indictment for accused Russian secret foreign agent Maria Butina refers to one of her American contacts as “U.S. Person 2.” Like others having serious legal troubles this week, they shared a love for the NRA.

We now know “U.S. Person 2” is George O’Neill Jr., an heir to the Rockefeller fortune and a conservative opinion writer, from a report today in the WSJ. O'Neill is believed to have helped build a secret line of communication between the U.S. right wing behind Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign, and the Russian government under President Vladimir Putin.

The U.S. charges against Butina discuss “friendship dinners” she organized to bring together Russians with politically active Americans who'd be receptive to their money and ideology.

One of those Americans, government prosecutors now say, hosted such a dinner in February 2017 before that year’s National Prayer Breakfast.

From Aruna Viswanatha and Julie Bykowicz at the Wall Street Journal:

Mr. O’Neill, an heir to the Rockefeller fortune and an outspoken advocate of closer ties with Russia, hosted that event, as he confirmed in a magazine column. The charging documents say Ms. Butina told him that a representative of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s administration had approved “building this communications channel.”

Mr. O’Neill, who hasn’t been accused of wrongdoing, didn’t respond to emails and phone messages. In the charging papers, he isn’t described by name but is called “U.S. Person 2.”

“All that we needed is > from Putin’s side. The rest is easier,” Ms. Butina told Mr. O’Neill, according to the court documents, in an apparent effort to relay approval from the Russian government of a U.S-Russian back channel through events like the dinner.

Mr. O’Neill’s involvement helps broaden the picture of Ms. Butina’s efforts in the U.S. She also collaborated with Paul Erickson, a South Dakota-based conservative with a history of debt and fraud cases who is referenced as “U.S. Person 1” in the charges filed against Ms. Butina, The Wall Street Journal reported previously.

Mr. O’Neill and Mr. Erickson were on some of the same emails with Ms. Butina, court papers show. Mr. Erickson didn’t respond to emails and phone messages.

In a column in advance of President Donald Trump’s meeting with Mr. Putin earlier this month, Mr. O’Neill argued that Russia could be a “constructive partner” in working with the U.S. to “stop its wasteful wars.” He founded a group to lobby for a “realistic and restrained foreign policy,” and organized a dinner last year for several Russian officials and Republican lawmakers and others before the Prayer Breakfast.

That dinner, chronicled by Time magazine last year, was a factor in the case against Ms. Butina, who is in jail awaiting trial on charges of being an unregistered foreign agent after her arrest on July 15. In a column last year for the American Conservative, where he is a board member, Mr. O’Neill laid out his involvement in that dinner.

“Some months back I organized a dinner on Capitol Hill that brought together some former and current Russian officials with a number of prominent U.S. Republicans and conservatives, including two congressmen, a conservative magazine publisher, some journalists, and others,” Mr. O’Neill wrote in his April 24, 2017, column.

The American Conservative says they “did not fund or sponsor the dinner.” Butina has pleaded not guilty to the charges, which her lawyer says are “overblown.”

From Bloomberg's story on Butina's connection to 'scion of the Rockefeller clan' George D. O’Neill Jr.:

O’Neill, a 68-year-old sculptor and a rainmaker for conservatives since Pat Buchanan’s 1992 presidential run, hosted a private dinner in Washington, D.C., for a delegation of Russian dignitaries in town for a National Prayer Breakfast in early February 2017, he has said publicly and to Bloomberg last year. There, just days after President Donald Trump’s inauguration, the Russians met two Republican lawmakers and other conservative luminaries, he has said.

The dinner is also referenced in a trip itinerary given to Russian delegates traveling to Washington for the breakfast, which was reviewed by Bloomberg. Delegates also received a Russian-language rundown of the Americans they could expect to meet at the dinner. Among them were O’Neill and his wife, a Russian-speaking congressional aide and a conservative operative they were told was an adviser to the new Trump administration, according to a document reviewed by Bloomberg.

Oh, and guess who else came to dinner? Yep, Dana Rohrabacher.

Dana Rohrabacher is colloquially known here in California as “the Congressman From Moscow.”

At one dinner, ABC News has learned, in February 2017 at the tony French eaterie, Bistro Bis, one guest who dined with the then-28 year old Russian was a California Republican congressman on the House Foreign Relations committee, Dana Rohrabacher. Rohrabacher’s office confirmed he attended.

Some of the Russians at that dinner were part of an active effort to undermine the 2016 presidential elections, U.S. national security prosecutors are effectively saying in the indictment. Whether he knew it or not, O’Neill may have helped Butina achieve her goal of creating a “backchannel” between the Kremlin and GOP, pro-Trump leadership.


On July 17, Maria Butina was indicted on charges of acting as an unregistered agent of a foreign government. Her involvement in a South Dakota fraud case involving Paul Erickson first came to light last week, during a detention hearing in Butina's case.

Butina has “offered to cooperate in a fraud investigation being mounted by federal prosecutors in South Dakota that appears to target Paul Erickson, the conservative activist with whom she was romantically linked, according to a letter released by her lawyer and court testimony in her case.”


She trolled you so hard, America. How hard? She literally walked around DC with this Beautiful Vladimir Putin With A Horse On A Russian Mountaintop Phone Case.

From the Washington Post:

Butina’s cellphone case was emblazoned with a famous photograph of Russian President Vladi­mir Putin riding shirtless on a horse. She would buy friends rounds of vodka at Russia House, the Dupont Circle restaurant popular with the Russian diplomatic set, sometimes challenging male friends to down horseradish-infused shots. She bragged to classmates that she had worked for the Russian government.

Dude. ... ssion=true

Re: Maria Butina

PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2018 7:15 am
by seemslikeadream
Maria Butina’s boyfriend claimed he set up Trump-Russia NRA “conduit” as campaign funds flowed

Republican operative Paul Erickson claimed in an email he’d set up a private Russia-GOP channel through the NRA

Igor Derysh
Russian national Maria Butina (Alexandria Sheriff's Office via Getty Images)

December 12, 2018 12:00pm (UTC)

Admitted Russian spy Maria Butina’s Republican operative boyfriend wrote in private communications that he was involved in setting up a “very private line of communication” between Russia and the Trump campaign using the National Rifle Association as a “conduit.”

Butina, a 30-year-old Russian gun rights activist, worked for years to cultivate relationships within Republican and NRA circles. She was charged with working as an agent of the Russian government earlier this year and on Monday agreed to plead guilty to conspiracy charges and cooperate with prosecutors.

In her plea deal, Butina admitted that she and “US Person 1,” who is longtime Republican operative Paul Erickson, “agreed and conspired, with a Russian government official,” whose description matches Russian banker and close Putin ally Alexander Torshin, for Butina to “act in the United States under the direction of Russian Official without prior notification to the Attorney General,” ABC News reported.

Under Torshin’s direction, the document said, Butina “sought to establish unofficial lines of communication with Americans having power and influence over U.S. politics.”

According to ABC News, federal prosecutors have notified Erickson, who had a romantic relationship with Butina, that he is now a target in the ongoing investigation.

According to her agreement, Butina admitted that with Erickson’s help she drafted a proposal called “Description of the Diplomacy Project” in March of 2015 in which she wrote that she had “laid the groundwork for an unofficial channel of communication with the next U.S. administration.”

According to prosecutors, Erickson “worked with Butina to arrange introductions to U.S. persons having influence in American politics,” including the NRA and the organizers of the National Prayer Breakfast.

In 2015, Butina organized a trip for former NRA presidents and officials to Moscow, where she arranged a meeting for them with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

“We should let them express their gratitude now, we will put pressure on them quietly later,” she wrote to Torshin after the meeting.

Around the same time, Erickson appears to have known about Butina’s work and was helping her establish connections.

“Unrelated to specific presidential campaigns,” Erickson wrote in October 2016, in an email to an acquaintance now in possession of the FBI, “I’ve been involved in securing a VERY private line of communication between the Kremlin and key [unnamed political party] leaders through, of all conduits, the [unnamed gun-rights organization].”

FBI investigators raided Erickson's South Dakota home and found a note in which he mused, “How to respond to FSB offer of employment?” The FSB is Russia’s intelligence agency and the successor to the infamous KGB.

Butina continued to attend “friendship dinners” with prominent conservatives and later arranged for a group of Russians to attend the National Prayer Breakfast in February of 2017.

In an email to Erickson, Butina wrote that the Russians were coming to the breakfast “to establish a back channel of communication,” The Daily Beast reported.

Erickson sent the list of Russian attendees to another person and wrote, “Reaction to the delegation’s presence in America will be conveyed DIRECTLY” to Russian President Vladimir Putin and Lavrov.

As these efforts were ongoing, the NRA was breaking spending records with sums of cash never before seen from the group.

The NRA, relying on an arm of the group that is not required to disclose its donors, spent more than $30 million to elect President Donald Trump, nearly triple the $12.5 million they spent to help Republican nominee Mitt Romney in 2012. They spent $54 million in total to elect Republicans in 2016.

Since the 2016 election, the NRA has cut its spending drastically. During the 2018 midterm cycle, McClatchy reported that the NRA had spent just $1.6 million to help Republicans, about 10 percent of the $16 million the group had spent backing GOP candidates in the 2014 midterms.

But the NRA didn’t just spend a lot of money to help Trump win. Watchdog groups filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission accusing the NRA and the Trump campaign of illegally coordinating ads to influence the 2016 election. According to The Trace, both the NRA and Trump campaign illegally coordinated to the point where their ad buys were authorized by the same person at the National Media Research firm.

“This is very strong evidence, if not proof, of illegal coordination,” Larry Noble, a former FEC general counsel, told The Trace. “This is the heat of the general election, and the same person is acting as an agent for the NRA and the Trump campaign.”

The NRA’s struggles have continued. On Monday the gun-lobby group was forced to lay off at least one prominent host at its NRA TV outlet.

After Trump’s election win, Butina wrote to Torshin, “I am ready for further orders.”

She was arrested earlier this year and has now agreed to cooperate with prosecutors. Erickson appears to be facing the threat of prosecution himself.

And Torshin? He appears to have been forced into retirement.

Bloomberg reported that Torshin retired in late November, just as Butina appeared to be reaching a deal with prosecutors to admit that she acted as an agent on his behalf. The Russian central bank issued a one-sentence statement on his retirement and declined to elaborate.

Butina’s cooperation will also likely lead to charges against Erickson, whose relationship with Butina is not entirely clear.

Prosecutors claimed that Butina “appear[ed] to treat [her relationship with Erickson] as simply a necessary aspect of her activities” and privately expressed “disdain” for having to live with him.

Butina’s attorney, Robert Driscoll, insisted to ABC News that the two were in a mutual romantic relationship.

“I think in some ways it’s a classic love story,” Driscoll said. “I think [reporters] are filling in a lot of the gaps with a lot of spy novels.” ... ds-flowed/

Re: Maria Butina

PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2018 11:32 am
by JackRiddler

Enjoying that mug-shot porn, Officer Dream? Does it swell your... sense of pride to see foreign evildoers in the orange jumpsuits? Russkie gal had it coming, right? ... 1827731038

FBI Reveals Maria Butina Traded Sex In Exchange For All 62,984,828 Votes Trump Received In 2016

7/19/18 4:07pm

Re: Maria Butina

PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2018 11:43 am
by seemslikeadream
your a prince Jack

what's the problem you not happy about the NRA taking all that Russian money?

30 million to trump

or that Torshin had to quit his day job at the bank?

Russian Politician Who Reportedly Sent Millions to NRA Has Long History in Spain
Spanish authorities were poised to arrest Alexander Torshin in a money-laundering case in 2013 when he mysteriously canceled his trip to Spain. ... y-in-spain


or that she didn't get a better seat at the inauguration?

I got more pics of a young innocent Siberian school girl making her way through the old white republican men....must be some great workshop those Siberian alternative schools offer

seemslikeadream » Mon Dec 10, 2018 1:45 pm wrote:Butina just brought the house down on trump, the GOP, the NRA, and Russia

.@realDonaldTrump getting asked a question by arrested Russian nationalist and @NRA lifetime member Maria Butina. She posed as a reporter at the July 2015 FreedomFest to ask then-candidate Trump if he would continue the U.S. policy of sanctions against Russia if elected.

Former @NRA president Jim Porter gives "rare privilege" of ringing Liberty Bell replica to arrested Russian nationalist and @NRA lifetime member Maria Butina.

Maria Butina, arrested Russian national and lifetime @NRA member, joined members of Russia’s elite in the crowd at Donald Trump's inauguration and also attended the inaugural Freedom Ball.

Maria Butina, arrested Russian national, with @NRA president Pete Brownell and Donald Trump Jr. at a 2016 dinner hosted by the NRA in Louisville, Kentucky.

Arrested Russian nationalist and @NRA lifetime member Maria Butina attending the 2017 National Prayer Breakfast.


REPORTER: Did you or anyone in your campaign... have any contact with Russia leading up to or during the campaign?
TRUMP: No, not at all.


Court Filing Suggests Plea Deal Has Been Reached In Butina Case

By Tierney Sneed
December 10, 2018 10:57 am
Prosecutors and Maria Butina — a Russian national who’s been accused of being an unregistered foreign agent — requested Monday that a judge schedule a hearing this week so that Butina can change her plea. The filing was a suggestion that Butina and prosecutors may have reached a plea deal in the case.

Butina had pleaded not guilty to the charge, brought by prosecutors in July.

There have been previous signs that Butina and prosecutors were working on a resolution — namely in a November request seeking delays in court filing deadlines as the parties worked on a “pretrial resolution.”

“The parties have resolved this matter,” the court filing Monday said.

Read the filing below: ... utina-case

Re: Maria Butina

PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2018 12:00 pm
by JackRiddler

Actually, she and all other lobbyists for corporations and rich people and state power, especially secretive ones, have zero of my sympathies. Even if the story is vastly, laughably exaggerated regarding its actual impact on U.S. politics, as with all things #Russiagate.

I do not like mugshot porn. It's a disgusting feature of our U.S. online culture. (I presume it's a thing elsewhere too.)


Re: Maria Butina

PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2018 12:03 pm
by seemslikeadream
here's the real sheriff from Milwaukee ...with Maria at the all expenses paid trip to Russia with the U.S. gun porn crowd ....

“Welcome to Russia, Comrads.”

Broidy promised the Russian gas giant Novatek he get it taken off the U.S. sanctions list for a cool $26 million. Just another day in the shithole presidency......another client of Cohen ... um=website


Re: Maria Butina

PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2018 12:22 pm
by seemslikeadream
Butina is pleading to have spied *with an American,* Paul Erickson, a connected GOPer. ... 2347482118

Indeed, this incident raises real questions for me on whether the House effort has now taken not only to defending Donald Trump, but also Maria Butina, an alleged foreign spy whose own writings indicate Putin knew of her operation.

Meanwhile, DOJ’s letter to Butina’s team reveals that they have not picked up a hard drive of discovery DOJ made available a month ago.

One key prong of Republican propaganda attempting to discredit the Mueller investigation has been to claim Trump associates were targeted by informants. Perhaps the most brazen example was when Roger Stone claimed a Russian whose offer of dirt he entertained (but claims to have refused to pay for) was an FBI informant. But George Papapdopoulos has spawned an entire subindustry of such claims.

It appears that Maria Butina’s attorneys have adopted that approach. In a letter to her attorneys the prosecutors posted to the docket the other day, they insist (as DOJ has had to insist to Republicans in Congress) that they are not sitting on evidence of approaches by informants.

During our previous discussions, you have advanced certain hypothetical scenarios involving your client, including a supposed “dangle” operation or the acquisition of exculpatory information from “Cis,” which we take to mean confidential government informants. It appeared at the time of our discussions, that you based these ideas not on firsthand knowledge of any events, but rather on speculation based on claims made in some unidentified media articles. Inexplicably, however, in your October 18, 2018 email, you–for the first time–firmly assert that “[w]e know this information exists [and] have called it out by name…” [emphasis added]. The government was surprised by this newly adamant assertion, and we invite you to provide us any additional information you may have concerning the provenance or existence of the information you request.

Notwithstanding its speculative nature, the government took your original request seriously and made specific inquiries about the hypothetical scenarios you advanced. Regarding the scenarios described in your October 18, 2018 email, based on our reviews to date, we are not aware of any information that would trigger any disclosure obligations regarding either a “dangle,” successful or otherwise, or information obtained from any confidential informant. We are aware of no surveillance targeting your client that occurred prior to in or around [redacted] We will obviously continue to review the government’s holdings for such information, as well as any additional surveillance records of your client and we will continue to discuss with you any other materials that you consider potentially exculpatory. If that ongoing review yields information that should be disclosed to you, we will certainly do so.

Don’t get me wrong. DOJ has a history of playing games with discovery, or of interpreting discovery narrowly so as to hide other prongs of an investigation. So the allegation from Butina’s lawyers, by itself, is not outrageous.

Except it seems to be a part of the Devin Nunes/Mark Meadows/Jim Jordan propaganda effort in Congress, driven by a bunch of half-wits who leak information that they don’t understand.

Indeed, this incident raises real questions for me on whether the House effort has now taken not only to defending Donald Trump, but also Maria Butina, an alleged foreign spy whose own writings indicate Putin knew of her operation.

Meanwhile, DOJ’s letter to Butina’s team reveals that they have not picked up a hard drive of discovery DOJ made available a month ago.

With respect to materials provided to you so far, we have made an FBI CART examiner available to you to help you navigate the electronic evidence, and we made a second hard drive of electronic evidence available to you over a month ago, which you have thus far reclined to retrieve.

The claim that Butina’s team has left evidence sitting for a month comes just days before Russia’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson, Maria Zakharova, claimed that DOJ has not handed over discovery to her and used that to claim DOJ is treating her unfairly.

It is baffling that the court considering Maria Butina’s case has not yet handed over the case material to her, although the hearing is scheduled for November 13. Unfortunately, this gives us yet another reason to doubt the impartiality of American justice system.

Again, it is not unheard of for DOJ to play games with discovery. But in this case, particularly in context of obvious propaganda serving Trump and other Republicans’ interest, it seems like Butina’s defenders both in and outside the country have decided on a disinformation strategy rather than a direct defense of her case.

Update: The parties just asked for Butina’s case to be put off for three weeks to deal with discovery. Maybe in the interim, the government will find the evidence of informants sidling up to Butina that the claim is not exculpatory. ... rint=print