MARIA BUTINA - RUSSIAN SPIES, SLEEPER CELLS, the NRA and the NATIONAL PRAYER BREAKFAST
For four years, the Russian MARIA BUTINA operated as a covert agent pursuing a brazen effort to infiltrate conservative circles such as the NRA and the National Prayer Breakfast
and influence powerful Republicans while she secretly was in contact with Russian intelligence operatives, a senior Russian official and a billionaire oligarch close to Vladimir Putin whom she called her “funder.”
Butina was arrested on the same day as Trump's Helsinki press conference. Her arrest was not officially part of the Mueller probe into election meddling since Butina was already being
Maria Butina carried out her campaign through a series of deceptions that began in 2014, if not earlier, prosecutors said.
She lied to obtain a student visa to pursue graduate work at American University in 2016. Apparently hoping for a work visa
that would grant her a longer stay, she offered one American sex in exchange for a job. She moved in with a Republican political operative nearly twice her age,
describing him as her boyfriend. But she privately expressed “disdain” for him and had him do her homework
In a dramatic two-hour hearing in Federal District Court here, prosecutors said that Ms. Butina, who is charged with conspiracy and illegally acting as an
agent of the Russian government, was the point person in a calculated, long-term campaign intended to steer high-level politicians toward Moscow’s objectives.
Though prosecutors did not name any party or politician, Ms. Butina’s efforts were clearly aimed at Republican leaders, especially those with White House aspirations in 2016, including Donald J. Trump.
She asked Donald Trump a question about Russia foreign policy when Trump first began his Presidential run in late 2015.
Butina has taken pictures with numerous Wayne LePierre, Bobby Jindal, Rick Santorum, Scott Walker and others.
Investigators noted Butina hosted a number of “friendship dinners” between influential Americans and Russians in both D.C. and New York.
Butina is a known protege of Alexander Torshin,
who McClatchy reported in January was being investigated by the FBI to see if he had been funneling money illegally to the NRA to help President Trump win the White House.
Torshin was among the Russians sanctioned by the US in 2018.
Torshin was enthusiastically pro-Trump on social media during the campaign. He also sat with Donald Trump Jr. at the 2016 NRA convention, an event at which he reportedly tried to meet with high-level Trump campaign officials, including Jared Kushner.
In an affidavit filed with the court, FBI Special Agent Kevin Helson outlined a two-year alleged effort by Butina to penetrate and influence the U.S. political system for Russia’s benefit by building ties to the American conservative movement.
As early as March 2015, Butina emailed the American political operative about her belief that the Republican Party would likely win the White House in 2016, according to court papers. She proposed a special project to
use the NRA to build relations with the GOP. Butina
founded a Russian gun rights group, Right to Bear Arms, in 2011 and repeatedly claimed on social media that she was a lifetime member of the National Rifle Association.
In 2013, Butina's gun rights group had gotten John Bolton, now Trump's national security adviser, to appear in a video that was used in the group's lobbying.
Butina wrote that “the resulting status needs to be strengthened” before the 2016 election and asked for a $125,000 budget to help her attend “all upcoming major conferences” of the Republican Party.
According to the affidavit, the FBI found evidence on Butina’s computer that she kept an unnamed Russian official closely apprised of her activities. Descriptions of the official in the complaint match Torshin,
a Russian central banker who has also built ties with the NRA.
In spring 2015, communications swept up as part of the investigation show Butina explaining how a change in U.S. foreign policy toward Russia could be pursued
by influencing an American political party through a “gun rights organization, ” noting how it’s the “largest sponsor of the elections to the US Congress, as well as a sponsor to the [Conservative Political Action Conference] and others.”
In one March 2016 email to an unnamed American, Butina described Torshin’s “desire in our Russian-American project” and indicated that a Putin representative had expressed support “for building this communication channel.”
Butina began reaching out to NRA members and other American gun enthusiasts in 2013 and hosted delegations of NRA executives and gun activists in Moscow. She and Torshin also attended a series of NRA events in the United States starting in 2014.
In June 2015, as Trump announced his candidacy, Butina wrote a column in the National Interest, a conservative U.S. magazine, suggesting that only by electing a Republican could the United States and Russia hope to improve relations.
"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," she wrote. Butina had sent the article to Torshin in advance for his approval.
Butina connected with Paul Erickson, a longtime conservative Republican operative from South Dakota and NRA activist, as early as 2013. He attended an event for her organization - which she described as "a Russian version of the NRA" -
in Moscow the following year. In May 2016, Erickson reached out to Rick Dearborn, a senior Trump campaign official and longtime advisor to the Sen. Jeff Sessions presenting himself as an intermediary. Sessions is now Trump's attorney general.
At that National Prayer Breakfast a GOP operative named Paul Erickson tried to get Torshin a meeting with Trump, the
Washington Post reported.
Butina also used the annual National Prayer Breakfast as a way to make contacts with influential people, according to the court filings. On Nov. 30, 2016, Butina emailed "US Person 1," saying the Russian
delegation attending the National Prayer Breakfast had been "handpicked" by a senior Russian official and were "VERY influential in Russia."
She said the delegation was attending the National Prayer Breakfast to "establish a back channel of communication."
Butina also attended the NRA convention in May 2016, where Erickson worked to get Torshin a meeting with Trump. In an email to the campaign, Erickson referred to Torshin as “Putin’s emissary”
in an effort to improve relations with the United States, The Post and other media organizations previously reported.
The meeting did not happen, but Torshin had an interaction at the event with Trump Jr., who has said it was brief and not memorable. Trump Jr. also interacted with a woman described as Torshin’s assistant
who he later came to believe was Butina, according to a person with knowledge of the episode.
Butina also accompanied Erickson to Trump’s inauguration, one of a number of Russians who attended the festivities and toasted to better relations between Russia and the United States.
This is not the first time Russians have tried to send in spies to our country - an entire group of Russian Sleeper cells were exposed in 2010.
The FBI has been running an investigation into Russian sleeper cells since the year 2000. In 2010,
the FBI arrested 10 spies and documented
a large ring of Russian spies who
were trying to burrow their way into American society to learn secrets from people in power.
The FBI investigation was code-named Operation Ghost Stories because 6 of the 10 Russian agents had assumed the identities of dead people.
After the 10 spies were arrested they were swapped for US spies and returned to Russia - which essentially gave them a slap on the wrist.
The Russian spies were "the cream of the crop" of trained Russian intelligence agents and were sent here to blend in and befriend American policymakers - just like Butina did in 2016.
Several of the inital round of 2010 spies were succeeding when they were exposed. Several were getting close to high-ranking officials.
One had gone to work for a confidant of a U.S. Cabinet member.
One of the Russians, who identified herself as Cynthia Murphy of Montclair, N.J., provided financial planning for Alan Patricof, a New York venture capitalist and
top Democratic donor who was finance chairman of Hillary Rodham Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign, according to news reports.
The agents were known as "illegals," because they weren't operating out of Russian embassies or military missions. Instead, they led seemingly normal lives in the U.S.
One of the Russian spies, Donald Heathfield of Cambridge, Mass., attended Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government, which trains many senior government officials.
One of the photos released from the FBI investigation showed Heathfield, who purportedly stole the identity of a Canadian infant who had died decades ago, graduating from Harvard in 2000.
The university has since revoked the degree.
After watching the Russian network for a decade, the FBI decided to wrap it up last year. "We had seen enough of the reporting going back to Moscow Center to trouble us," including a report about
one of the agent's classmates who had joined the CIA,
FBI Assistant Director of Counterintelligence Frank Figliuzzi said.
By early 2010, the FBI had penetrated the ring's communication. Investigators were able to record the Russians sending secret messages, and posing as Russian handlers they used the spy ring's own lingo to get members to incriminate themselves.
In one videotape, Anna Chapman, the former New York real estate agent whose youth and good looks made her the face of the spy saga when it became public knowledge, is shown shopping in a New York department store.
She was also transmitting coded messages though a laptop to her Russian handler.
After the spies were swapped, Russian President at the time Medvedev awarded the 10 freed spies Russia's highest honors at a Kremlin ceremony.
Chapman, a diplomat's daughter, has kept a high profile in Russia, working as a model and doing paid celebrity endorsements.
The Russians even considered Butina to be Anna Chapman 2.0. Maria Butina, the ginger-fringed
Russian grad student charged with acting as a foreign agent in the US this week, was compared by her handler to another famous undercover femme fatale -
Anna Chapman, the sultry spook busted for spying in New York in 2010, federal prosecutors allege.
“Good morning! How are you faring there in the rays of the new fame? Are your admirers asking for your autographs yet? You have upstaged Anna Chapman,” a “Russian Official”
told Butina in a March 2017 private Twitter message, according to new court papers filed as part of Butina's arrest.
Butina sent the same Russian official a photo of herself near the US Capitol on President Trump’s Inauguration Day, to which he responded: “You’re a daredevil girl! What can I say!”
Butina responded: “Good teachers!”
The Illuminati news refuses to draw the obvious connection between Butina and the previous wave of Russian sleeper agents. Trump knows all about these Russian sleeper agents, he doesn't care. Trump is a Russian
spy - Trump is just another node in Putin's web. The entire GOP has been co-opted by the Russians - which can be seen in Butina's infiltration of the NRA and the National Prayer Breakfast - two conservative
institutions that represent the neo-nazi side of the Republican party. The Neo-Nazi/KKK side of the GOP has allied themselves with the Russians and Putin. They are completely OK with Trump being a slave to Putin - which
is why they aren't doing anything to reign in Trump.