Third Party & Independents Archives

Is Maria Butina a Spy? Or a Lobbyist?

But what law did Butina break? There are an awful lot of foreign representatives looking to cozy up to members of Congress, Cabinet Secretaries, local lobbyists and whoever else they feel can further their country’s interests in America. And more than a few of those countries are hardly shining examples of democracy.

So, is the FBI criminalizing foreign policy?

Yes, Butina was clearly sent to improve the Kremlin's image back in 2015 when Ukraine, assassinations, and just plain old corruption had given Putin's regime a very low image on the world stage. Putin needed, and still needs, to do something about it. So his regime sent people like Butina and Veselnitskaya to garner some influence in America.

But, again, despite the fact it was done by a thuggish, adversarial regime, what was the crime? Here's the Trump-loving folks at The Daily Beast:

The FBI alleges that Butina, on Torshin's behalf, infiltrated the National Rifle Association as a lever to move GOP politics in a pro-Russia direction.

On October 4, 2016, the affidavit alleges, an unnamed "U.S. person" in close contact with Butina emailed an acquaintance to boast of involvement in "securing a VERY private line of communication between the Kremlin and key [Republican Party] leaders through, of all conduits, the [NRA]." The FBI's Helson said he understood that communication to represent "U.S. Person 1's involvement in BUTINA's efforts to establish a 'back channel' communication for representatives of the Government of Russia."

Is this all, or is there more? A back-channel is used on all sorts of occasions. That is not collusion unless a quid pro quo was clearly established, and this is not at all clear at this point. Even Betsy Woodruff has to admit that until now, there has been no evidence of collusion. But of course, now Butina is clearly the smoking gun. Right?

Maybe not. Again, this feels like a angry lashback by the FBI rather than a carefully considered indictment that reveals real collusion. We'll have to see. Meanwhile this story along with Trump's disaster in Helsinki and his not all that convincing walk back today of his original words at the press conference will keep Democrats hysterically convinced that they have the collusion they so desperately need. They are calling for impeachment, or even in the case of Tennessee's Cohen, tweeting out a call for a military coup.

This has always been a strange thing with Trump. One may disagree with his trade policy, but it has a certain - likely flawed - logic to it. Trump's insistence on trying to have good relations with Putin has no clear logical basis. Unless of course there is somehow some sort of secret agreement between them. Some of the brightest (and rather more partisan) legal minds in DC have been trying to find that secret agreement. All to no avail. Even with this latest indictment or affidavit as the FBI calls it, which seems a bit of a hedge.

So why the hell does Trump behave the way he does towards Putin while his administration along with Congress act far more strongly against Russia than Obama's administration did? This is the billion-dollar question that nags still and that provides such a perfect platform for those who want to evict Trump from his legitimate presidency at any possible cost it seems.

Will we have to wait for Trump's presidency to end to get a satisfactory answer to this question? Will Mueller's probe somehow provide a convincing answer? One it hasn't been able to provide so far? Who the hell knows. Meanwhile, Trump's woulda, coulda, shoulda walk back is hardly inspiring. But will have to do for now.

Posted by AllardK at July 18, 2018 1:21 PM
Comment #429168

Smile for the camera, Wayne LaPierre!

You too, NRA President Jim Porter!

Say ‘cheese,’ Bobby Jindal. You too, Rick Santorum!

Ah, isn’ that cute… Scott Walker posing with Maria Butina AND her handler, Russian billionaire oligarch Alexander Torshin.

Maria Butina used money and s*x to gain access to high ranking Republicans. She was denied bail today. Flight risk. 25 Russians have already been indicted, but we’ve got this one in the bag, and she is in jail.

Posted by: phx8 at July 18, 2018 3:06 PM
Comment #429173

Prosicutor: Your Honor! The photos clearly show the defendant posing with prominent figures.

Judge: Guilty! Off with her head!

Posted by: Weary Willie at July 18, 2018 4:20 PM
Comment #429187

The NRA gave three times as much to Trump as they did to Romney. Gee. Wonder where those extra tens of millions of dollars came from. Gosh. Hmmm. I wonder. Thanks to Citizens United, it is child’s play to anonymously funnel money through shell corporations. Even Michael Cohen knew how to set up a shell corporation, Essential Consulting. That was good enough for Russian oligarch Velselberg to give up $500,000 to Cohen.

In 2015, Butina attended a conference along with a lot of other people. Of all the people in that audience, Trump called on her. She asked a question about lifting Russian sanctions. Trump answered:

“I know Putin, and I’ll tell you what, we get along with Putin. Putin has no respect for President Obama. Big problem. Big problem. And Russia has been driven — you know I’ve always heard, for years I’ve heard, one of the worst things that can happen is if Russia ever gets driven to China. We have driven them together, with the big oil deals that are being made. We’ve driven them together. That’s a horrible thing for this country. We have made them friends because of incompetent leadership. I believe I would get along very nicely with Putin, okay? And I mean where we have the strength. I don’t think you’d need the sanctions.”

It is a little confusing, because in 2015 Trump said “I know Putin,” and then in a July 2016 press conference said “I don’t know Putin.” He was lying, but which version should we believe? What he said before July 2016, or since then?

Well, theough Maria Butina and her handler, Alexander Thorsin, the Russians found a perfect conduit, an organization willing to look the other way when illegal contributions from a foreign adversary poured into their coffers. Because, hey, it was an anonymous donation from a shell corporation that just happened to love guns, ok, and corporations are people, right?

Posted by: phx8 at July 18, 2018 5:58 PM
Comment #429188

Yawn…more fairy tales from our little Socialist gnome.

The Left can’t prove collusion between Trump and Russia.

The Left can’t prove collusion between the NRA and anyone, or anything.

We can prove that Russia benefited from Obama’s inept and cowardly actions toward them.

Posted by: Royal Flush at July 18, 2018 6:29 PM
Comment #429216

“The Left can’t prove collusion between Trump and Russia.”

We already know collusion happened. The legal term is conspiracy, and that is what the Mueller probe is investigating.

“The Left can’t prove collusion between the NRA and anyone, or anything.”
Told you so in previous comments. Told you to watch for the name of a Russian oligarch, billionaire Alexander Torshin. Repeated this many times. He is a governor of the Russian Central Bank. He and his agent pretended to represent a non-existent gun rights movement in Russia in order to infiltrate the US political system. Now his agent, Maria Butina, is in jail awaiting trial. She sought to penetrate the GOP through the NRA. The trail of photographic evidence shows she obviously succeeded.

“We can prove that Russia benefited from Obama’s inept and cowardly actions toward them.”

No. Just the opposite. Putin thought Hillary & Obama were behind protests that nearly undermine his 2012 election. Neighboring Ukraine wanted to join turn west, and perhaps join the EU and NATO. The incredibly corrupt Ukrainian dictator- the guy who Manafort worked for- denied that movement, and tried to bring Ukraine to Russia. An uprising followed, ousting the Ukrainian dictator.

Fearing a Ukrainian membership in the EU and NATO, Putin acted quickly, annexing Crimea, and then taking over part of Ukraine.

The Obama administration reacted with sanctions directly against the Russian oligarchs, freezing their money abroad. The Magnitsky Act was part of this. In addition, the value of the ruble crashed, as did the Russian stock market, plunging the country into a deep recession. Putin blamed the Obama administration for this economic downturn, too.

Obama was strong. So was Hillary. Putin had good reason to fear them, and good reason to want a presidential candidate who would do Russia’s bidding, namely Trump.

Posted by: phx8 at July 19, 2018 4:46 PM
Comment #429218

Sigh…when did theory become fact for you phx8.

“While President Obama has continued to say that only non-lethal assistance will be supplied to Kiev – bullet-proof vests, helmets and the like – Poroshenko said this would not be enough.

“Blankets and night-vision goggles are important, but one cannot win the war with blankets. You cannot keep the peace with a blanket,” he told lawmakers, adding that Ukraine urgently needs “more military equipment, both lethal and non-lethal.”

As his statement drew applause from the audience, the Ukrainian leader went on to call on NATO for closer ties.

“I strongly encourage the United States to give Ukraine a special security and defense status which reflect the highest level of interaction with a non-NATO ally,” he said.

Russia has warned that NATO’s progress towards the east and Ukraine, which the military bloc sees as a potential member, will trigger a strong reaction.”

Obama caves to Putin and allows Russia to invade Ukraine and annex Crimea.

Obama’s Ukraine policy in shambles

Obama turns from Ukraine to Syria. He draws a line in the sand and Putin kicks the sand into Obama’s face.

Obama is a coward and unreliable ally. He is responsible for thousands of needless deaths.

Posted by: Royal Flush at July 19, 2018 5:19 PM
Comment #429219

That first link is rt. Russia Today. You know. The Russian state propaganda outlet. Sheesh, what is wrong with you! You are linking the propaganda of adversaries to the United States of America, and then siding with them!

Posted by: phx8 at July 19, 2018 5:22 PM
Comment #429220

Did they not print the quotes correctly phx8?

I can find the quotes elsewhere if you wish.

Posted by: Royal Flush at July 19, 2018 5:28 PM
Comment #429223

Where did you find the link? Do you read Russia Today? Or are you looking at an ‘unwitting’ conduit for Russian propaganda, like Breitbart?

If you are siding with an adversary’s propaganda against an American president, then maybe it is time to reflect on your loyalties.

Posted by: phx8 at July 19, 2018 9:51 PM
Comment #429250

A simple Google search pulls up a lot - RT was the first link for my search.

FYI: Trying to divide people by questioning ‘loyalties’ and screaming ‘Russian bot’ at everyone who disagree’s with the false narrative you are trying to set isn’t gaining the left any support.

Posted by: kctim at July 20, 2018 8:38 AM
Comment #429253

False narrative! WTF is the matter with you guys? Using RT as your basis for this foolishness should tell you something.

Calling Obama weak for targeting Russia in the pocketbook instead of on the battlefield, such BS. Especially since we all know the last thing Trump would do is do something not directed by Putin. Look weak up in the dictionary and you may find a picture of Trump on his knees in Helsinki bowing to Putin. This diversion from the issue of today is weak guys. But hey what exactly did phx8 write that would cause you to say it is theory not fact?

Posted by: j2t2 at July 20, 2018 10:37 AM
Comment #429255

In order to dismiss facts, Phx8 attacked Royal and his RT link. Easily found information proves it wasn’t Russian propaganda.
Phx8 could have easily discussed and debated the opinion that Obama caved to Putin, but instead he went with conspiracy theories. As usual.

There is absolutely no proof that shows Trump is directed by Putin, bows to Putin, or is in debt to Putin. Claims of such things and attacking the loyalties of fellow Americans who do not take your word for it, are nothing but partisan claptrap meant to further divide Americans for leftist political gain.

Posted by: kctim at July 20, 2018 11:04 AM
Comment #429259

j2t2 never disappoints. His link to “wikipedia” doesn’t work. It goes nowhere, just as the Liberal Left are also heading.

I find it interesting our Liberal Pals think that quotes from one source are believable and the same quote from a different source are not believable.

There is a word for such a psychological ailment.

Posted by: Royal Flush at July 20, 2018 3:57 PM
Comment #429264

It appears that we have a pattern here. The Liberals wait for some breaking “fake” news. They get all excited and write some comments. Before long they discover, usually from what conservatives write, that the news truly is “fake” or meaningless.

They go home for the day hoping that tomorrow will bring them something new to wet their pants over.

Posted by: Royal Flush at July 20, 2018 6:32 PM
Comment #429299

RF & kctim,
You know why your search engine directed you to a Russia today site ahead of other sites? It personalizes your search based on past searches.

What your search engine is telling you is that, more than any other article, you are likely candidates for a Russia Today article. You are likely to prefer that article. In other words, your own search engine has you pegged as a likely consumer of Russian propaganda.

Don’t blame me for pointing it out. That is what your own search engine is telling you. Is it customizing your searches for you, personally, and based on your personal history & previous searches, you are both likely consumers of Russian propaganda. You are likely to prefer it.

Like I said, it is time for a little reflection. How did you come to this place? Your own search engine anticipates you are likely to prefer Russian Today over USA Today or the London Times.

Posted by: phx8 at July 21, 2018 1:30 PM
Comment #429309

What search engine is he using?

Posted by: Weary Willie at July 21, 2018 5:24 PM
Comment #429321

phx8 has to change the subject as he knows my quotes are true, regardless of source.

Is CNN the number one search engine of Liberals?


It is “free government stuff”.

Posted by: Royal Flush at July 22, 2018 4:17 PM
Comment #429328

Maybe phx8 is correct. Maybe all of the search engines do what phx8 says yours does.

His preferences are emotional propaganda sites and that’s all his search engine wants him to see.

Posted by: Weary Willie at July 22, 2018 6:28 PM
Comment #429362

Gee, thanks Phx8. That will sure help me with all the websites that I’ve been running for over a decade now.
What’s next, cookies? Cache? Web proxies? Layers? Tor?

Na, I just love me some Russian, don’t I.

Posted by: kctim at July 23, 2018 10:58 AM
Comment #429363

Poor Martha Stewart, she’ll be targeted again after this comes out.

Posted by: Weary Willie at July 23, 2018 11:47 AM
Comment #429364

Your search engine- Google- personalizes your search results based on the past six months and previous searches. It probably tracks a LOT more than that, but the point it, the results are prioritized on which result you are most likely to click on. It anticipates that is the one you are most likely to want.

And if Russia Today shows at the top of your search result, there is no escaping the fact that Google, based on your past searches, anticipates that the information source you will want more than any other is Russia Today.

Same goes for RF.

You can disable the personalizing feature of Google, but there is not much point, since Google is only taking the history of what YOU click on to anticipate what you will want the next time. Usually it is useful. In this case, it is telling you & RF something, and you might want to learn from this.

Posted by: phx8 at July 23, 2018 1:30 PM
Comment #429366

Quite frankly phx8, your internet ignorance is showing.

If I don’t use the word “Russia” in my search line, I will never get search results you falsely claim.

Geez…I am barely computer literate and even I know that much.

However, phx8 just continues to change the subject to protect his hypocrisy. Would the quote I gave be different from another web site. Are quotation marks used to identify words actually said or written?

Posted by: Royal Flush at July 23, 2018 2:43 PM
Comment #429368

What phx8 is saying is, Google is meddling in our elections a lot more than Russia is.

Posted by: Weary Willie at July 23, 2018 4:14 PM
Comment #429370

Thanks, but I’m well aware of how browsers and search engines work, Phx8. I guarantee you that the use of Poroshenko and Ukraine is what generated the RT hit, not some daily Russian browsing that you weirdly think is going on.

Posted by: kctim at July 23, 2018 4:58 PM
Comment #429371

There’s nothing ‘weird’ about it. I can not make an RT article come up no matter what combinations I try, short of actually googling Russia Today. Look, it is not me. Your own search engine results are a reflection of you.

The question to ask is this: Why does my own search engine think I will prefer Russia Today article to a similar one by the London Times or USA Today?

Posted by: phx8 at July 23, 2018 6:52 PM
Comment #429372

LOL…poor phx8. He is an internet illiterate. Sometimes, Liberals try so hard and yet just can’t get it right. It’s a mental block common to their kind.

Posted by: Royal Flush at July 23, 2018 6:58 PM
Comment #429384

What’s weird is that you would believe we are browsing Russian sites for news.
Search engines are not solely dependent on what you type into it. There are hundreds of ranking factors that affect how relevance is displayed.

I’m beginning to think that you just read about how all this works from some political hack who would rather avoid facts by just screaming ‘Russians’.

Posted by: kctim at July 24, 2018 8:43 AM
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