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That_Guy

Maria Butina, accused Russian agent, reaches plea deal

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That_Guy

Maria Butina, accused Russian agent, reaches plea deal with prosecutors that includes cooperation

By PETE MADDEN, KATHERINE FAULDERS MATTHEW MOSK Dec 10, 2018, 5:48 PM ET

 

 

Maria Butina, a 30-year-old Russian gun rights activist who stands accused developing a covert influence operation in the United States, has agreed to plead guilty to conspiracy and cooperate with federal, state and local authorities in any ongoing investigations.

 

She admits, as part of the deal, according to a copy obtained by ABC News that is expected to be filed to the court, that she and an unnamed “U.S. Person 1,” which sources have identified as longtime Republican operative Paul Erickson, with whom she had a multiyear romantic relationship, “agreed and conspired, with a Russian government official (“Russian Official”) and at least one other person, for Butina to act in the United States under the direction of Russian Official without prior notification to the Attorney General.”

 

Based on the description, the “Russian Official” appears to be Alexander Torshin, deputy governor of the Russian Central Bank and a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Under his direction, the agreement said, she “sought to establish unofficial lines of communication with Americans having power and influence over U.S. politics.”

 

<snip>

 

Butina was arrested in July and accused of ensnaring Erickson in a “duplicitous relationship,” using him for cover and connections as she developed an influence operation designed to “advance the agenda of the Russian Federation.” She pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy and failure to register as a foreign agent.

 

But now, according to the agreement, Butina has acknowledged that with U.S. Person 1’s assistance, she drafted a proposal called “Description of the Diplomacy Project” in March of 2015 which was later sent to the Russian Official, in which she said that she had already “laid the groundwork for an unofficial channel of communication with the next U.S. administration” and requested $125,000 from a Russian billionaire to attend conferences and meetings to further develop those ties. The Russian Official, the agreement said, confirmed that her proposal would be at least partially supported.

 

The government has alleged that U.S. Person 1 “worked with Butina to arrange introductions to U.S. persons having influence in American politics,” including high-ranking members of the National Rifle Association and organizers of the National Prayer Breakfast, that would ultimately give her a surprising level of access to conservative politicians, including — in one memorable interaction captured on video — to then-candidate Donald Trump.

 

Most notably, Butina’s Russian gun rights group “Right to Bear Arms” hosted a delegation of former NRA presidents, board members and major donors in Moscow in 2015, where she appears to have succeeded in arranging a meeting between NRA insiders and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, raising the prospect of a discussion between conservative political operatives and a powerful member of Russian President Putin’s inner circle in the midst of a presidential campaign.

 

After that now infamous meeting, the agreement said, Butina sent the Russian Official a message, which was translated as saying “We should let them express their gratitude now, we will put pressure on them quietly later.”

 

It would appear that, even as Erickson was helping Butina forge those connections, he may have been aware of the political implications.

 

“Unrelated to specific presidential campaigns,” Erickson wrote in an October 2016 email to an acquaintance that was later obtained by 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].”

 

And during an FBI raid of Erickson’s South Dakota home, investigators discovered a handwritten note suggesting Erickson may have been aware of a possible job offer from Russian intelligence services: “How to respond to FSB offer of employment?” Erickson scratched, an apparent reference to the Russian equivalent of the CIA.

 

<snip>

 

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Rock N' Roll Right Winger
:yawn:

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MontyPython

Awww gee, what a disappointment. Here we were, hoping this mysterious "person #1" was gonna be Adolf Trump.

 

Oh snap.

 

:dramaqueen:

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Rock N' Roll Right Winger

Awww gee, what a disappointment. Here we were, hoping this mysterious "person #1" was gonna be Adolf Trump.

 

Oh snap.

 

:dramaqueen:

But only the special prosecutor knows. :rolleyes:

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NH Populist

More smoke, mirrors and dangling carrots, it's like reading a poorly written novel with no ending...

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Dean Adam Smithee

...Butina was arrested in July and accused of ensnaring Erickson in a “duplicitous relationship,” using him for cover and connections...

 

If that's a crime in the USA, they'd better start building more jails. LOTS more.

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Noclevermoniker

My wife and I sponsored a Russian businessman from Siberia in our home in Alaska for a week back in 1991. I wonder if I'm under some suspicion?

 

Another Boy_Cries_Wolf nothingburger. Somebody's got a lot of time on one hand.

Edited by Noclevermoniker

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RedSoloCup

:yawn:

 

X2.

 

 

 

Another Boy_Cries_Wolf nothingburger. Somebody's got a lot of time on one hand.

 

Ya think?

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Kilmerfan

My wife and I sponsored a Russian businessman from Siberia in our home in Alaska for a week back in 1991. I wonder if I'm under some suspicion?

 

Another Boy_Cries_Wolf nothingburger. Somebody's got a lot of time on one hand.

I bought a video game from Russia and read Dostoevsky novels, I might get a visit.

 

Anybody got the Russian version of Baby it's cold outside?

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Noclevermoniker

I bought a video game from Russia and read Dostoevsky novels, I might get a visit.

 

Anybody got the Russian version of Baby it's cold outside?

No, but parts of my ancestral family are Volga Germans, who came directly from Russia to the USA to settle. I'd better turn myself in.

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BootsieBets

Gee, I just posted about reading Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn in high school. I guess since he was a dissident, I’m O.K.???

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Natural Selection

And yet Obama is the only one to offer Russia "more flexibility" after his election. He also didn't do squat when Russia annexed Crimea.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=keXx0zxTarE

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That_Guy

He also didn't do squat when Russia annexed Crimea.

 

That's not accurate.

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Natural Selection

That's not accurate.

 

How so?

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Natural Selection

 

He blocked the US based assets of certain Russians? :rofl: That's it? Did those Russians even have any assets in the US? What a joke. It had zero effect on Russia's actions in Crimea and was done after the fact.

 

Obama was clearly showing his flexibility towards Russia by doing essentially nothing more that putting on a symbolic political dog and pony show.

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That_Guy

He blocked the US based assets of certain Russians? :rofl: That's it? Did those Russians even have any assets in the US? What a joke. It had zero effect on Russia's actions in Crimea and was done after the fact.

 

Obama was clearly showing his flexibility towards Russia by doing essentially nothing more that putting on a symbolic political dog and pony show.

 

You may want to read up on the global response (including the G-20 and most of our allies) and the additional sanctions before you jump to any more conclusions. Then remember this from December of 2016:

 

Obama expels 35 Russian diplomats in retaliation for US election hacking

putin-muon-khoi-phuc-quan-he-voi-nga-my-phai-do-bo-trung-phat.jpg

 

...and compare it to the answer that Trump gave to former Russian spy Maria Butina (now cooperating witness in the Mueller investigation) on lifting sanctions back in July of 2015:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=47o936b1kHk

(1:48 -- "I don't think you'd need the sanctions")

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Natural Selection

You may want to read up on the global response (including the G-20 and most of our allies) and the additional sanctions before you jump to any more conclusions. Then remember this from December of 2016:

 

Obama expels 35 Russian diplomats in retaliation for US election hacking

putin-muon-khoi-phuc-quan-he-voi-nga-my-phai-do-bo-trung-phat.jpg

 

...and compare it to the answer that Trump gave to former Russian spy Maria Butina (now cooperating witness in the Mueller investigation) on lifting sanctions back in July of 2015:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=47o936b1kHk

(1:48 -- "I don't think you'd need the sanctions")

 

:blahblah: :blahblah: :blahblah:

 

Did Obama prevent Russia from annexing Crimea? No. He did not. Russia got what they wanted thanks to Obama's "flexibility".

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RedSoloCup

How so?

 

Because Barry the Wonder Muslim can do no wrong, in his eyes.

Edited by RedSoloCup

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zurg

It’s amazing that you seem to have data available to supposedly counter every statement made here, yet none of that data actually counters anything.

 

You’re truly the stereotypical leftist that Reagan called out. You know so many things that just aren’t true.

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Natural Selection

It’s amazing that you seem to have data available to supposedly counter every statement made here, yet none of that data actually counters anything.

 

You’re truly the stereotypical leftist that Reagan called out. You know so many things that just aren’t true.

 

Just think of all the lives and money we could have saved if we had simply used sanctions to stop Hitler!

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johnnybravo

Is this the Russian that had a revoked passport but was allowed into the country by Obama to entrap trump?

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gravelrash

Is this the Russian that had a revoked passport but was allowed into the country by Obama to entrap trump?

 

1*D-vtWDvvdXOuEMvXtrbV4w.jpeg

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Dean Adam Smithee

Just think of all the lives and money we could have saved if we had simply used sanctions to stop Hitler!

 

Strangely enough, It was the Jews who opposed this. The argument was that while sanctions might hurt the Hitler regime some, it would have been devastating to a number of Jewish-owned business in Germany that relied heavily on exports and especially exports to pre-State Israel.

 

Haaretz: The Jews Who Opposed Boycotting Nazi Germany "Calls for sanctions were resisted by German Jews and many in pre-state Israel. Newly uncovered documents reveal the passions and arguments surrounding the controversy."

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Natural Selection

Strangely enough, It was the Jews who opposed this. The argument was that while sanctions might hurt the Hitler regime some, it would have been devastating to a number of Jewish-owned business in Germany that relied heavily on exports and especially exports to pre-State Israel.

 

Haaretz: The Jews Who Opposed Boycotting Nazi Germany "Calls for sanctions were resisted by German Jews and many in pre-state Israel. Newly uncovered documents reveal the passions and arguments surrounding the controversy."

 

I should have used the "sarcasm" emoticon. Bombing the <censored> out of Hitler was the only viable option. The same goes for Russia's annexation of Crimea.

 

When the rewards of seizing territory exceed the sanctions it's a simple math equation for the aggressor. I suspect those Russians sanctioned by Obama have been reimbursed by Putin.

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