One of the saddest episodes to emerge from the anti-Russia hysteria the Democrats and NeverTrump weenies managed to generate after the 2016 election is the case of Maria Butina. (You can chant “Russia is not our friend” under your breath to create the correct ambiance.) Butina, a member of a nascent Russian gun rights movement, was sentenced to 18 months in prison for failing to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act. She was never accused of being an intelligence agent. She is in prison for doing what Tony Podesta did for years and got White House invitations. Butina’s misfortune was to be Russian and to be interested in working with the NRA. Because the NRA supports Republicans, this became a convenient tool to claim the NRA was a Russian influenced organization…a charge that was actually made on this very site…and therefore illegitimate.
Yesterday, a pretty amazing thing happened. According to an exclusive report by Sara Carter (who seems to be one of the very few political journalists, liberal or conservative, not using Jake Tapper’s Twitter timeline for story ideas) the FBI aimed an informant at Butina with orders to begin a sexual relationship with her and then lied to Butina’s defense team about the informant and what the informant said about her intent because his reports undermined the government’s case.
This is the set up:
[Overstock.com CEO Patrick] Byrne was a keynote speaker on July, 8, 2015 at Freedom Fest, a yearly Libertarian gathering that hosts top speakers in Las Vegas. Shortly after his address, Butina approached him. She was flattering and repeatedly told him she was a fan of his, saying she was a graduate student that had studied the famous libertarian Militon Friedman.
He spoke to her shortly and “brushed her off.”
The young redheaded Russian graduate student then approached him again over the course of the conference and explained that she worked for the Vice Chairman of the Central Bank of Russia and sent by them to make contact with Byrne.
She also said “did you know you’re a famous man in Russia, we watch videos about you and your relationship with Milton Freeman.”
She said she was appointed to lead Russia’s gun right’s group by Lieutenant-General Mikhail Kalashnikov, who was a Russian general, most notably known for his AK-47 machine gun design. The designation by Kalashnikov is considered a huge honor and Byrne then had an “extensive conversation about Russian history and I understood her designation about Kalishnikov was significant.”
She wanted to invite Byrne to Russia to speak at the Central Bank before dignitaries. The speaking engagement would be at a major resort for three days. Butina told Byrne the event would offer him the opportunity to meet senior Russian officials and oligarchs. He didn’t accept the offer because of his security clearance. He then reported Butina and her offer to the FBI.
Byrne was a little suspicious of everything because Butina confided that she was afraid she was being monitored and thought it would be best if they disguised their meetings as a romantic relationship. He also reported it because Byrne was a part-time FBI informant.
When he contacted the FBI and then subsequently for the next few months “instead what I got was vague instructions that it would be ok to get to know her better.”
He said there was very little response from the FBI after his initial contact, until Butina asked him to come meet her in New York City. He told the FBI he didn’t want any vague instructions on whether to meet Butina or not because “I didn’t want my security clearance to get pulled.”
At that point the FBI gave him an explicit “green light” to meet with her. He rented a hotel room with two bedrooms because he was under the impression that the romantic texts were simply her way to cover for communicating with him. However, she arrived at the hotel beforehand, occupied the room before Byrne’s arrival, and when he arrived, she made clear that her flirtatious texts were not simply a disguise.
Byrne said that the FBI agents made clear they were skeptical that Butina might be of interest, dismissing her as simply a normal 26 year old Russian graduate student. Over time, Byrne and Butina developed an intimate relationship but at the same time he alleges he was continuously reporting on Butina to the FBI in an effort to convince them that it might be worthwhile to introduce her to some of his contacts at the Council on Foreign Relations. He also noted he reported to the FBI his interactions more frequently with Butina starting in December, 2015, both out of a desire not to lose the possibility of something good coming from this encounter, but also, because Butina was starting to speak more frequently of meeting with big shots in Republican circles.
Ultimately, Byrne became convinced that Butina was basically a very enthusiastic person doing exactly what she claimed to be doing: trying to build linkages between this Russian gun rights group and the NRA and conservative groups in the US and that she was not acting on behalf of the Russian government.
After her arrest, her lawyer made a demand for so-called “Brady” material and the FBI told them there was none. The FBI lying to sandbag a defense attorney…can you see my shocked face?
But this is the interesting part:
Oddly, Byrne’s name was not disclosed by prosecutors in the case or by the FBI. And despite the government’s earlier efforts to paint Butina as a Russian spy attempting to infiltrate Republican circles she was never investigated by Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe, which charged 25 Russian agents with interfering in the U.S. election. Further, the FBI, unlike convicted Russian bombshell spy Anna Chapman, did nothing to stop Butina from meeting with high level Republican and conservative figures. The bureau also didn’t warn those conservative figures she had made contact with, even though they had her under surveillance and allegedly Byrne had been reporting on her during that time. As noted in a column by The Hill’s John Solomon Chapman’s actions were handled differently than Butina. When one of Chapman’s associates, who went by the name of Cynthia Murphy, made contact with Alan Patricof, a major Democratic donor close to Hillary Clinton, the FBI acted swiftly to arrest the entire cell.
[Butina attorney Robert] Driscoll said there was suspicion that the FBI did not disclose all the information it had on Butina and he stated that he believed “Patrick is not the only one” who was giving information to the FBI.
Why does this matter?
We’re seeing a pattern. When the FBI suspected that Carter Page was possibly compromised by the Russians, instead of following normal procedure and giving then-candidate Trump a defensive briefing and the opportunity to remove Page from the campaign, what did the FBI do? Nothing. We know they did that service for John McCain in 2008 and why they elected not to in 2015-16 is a question that needs to be answered. If Page had been fired from the Trump campaign in 2015 much of what happened since then would not have taken place.
Earlier this week the attorney for Joseph Mifsud intimated that his client, the guy who allegedly kicked off “Crossfire Hurricane” by telling George Papadopoulos that the Russians had “dirt” on Clinton, worked for western intelligence agencies. Bolstering this is the fact that Robert Mueller never claims that Mifsud was working for the Russian government and Mueller never charged Mifsud with lying to the FBI in interviews despite the fact that he did (see Jim Jordan Fillets Mueller On Joseph Mifsud Not Being Charged, Exposes Serious Credibility Issues With The Probe).
Recall that the New York Times confirmed that a woman dangled in front of Papadopoulos as a possible romantic liaison was, in fact, working for some US agency. We hope it was the FBI because if it was the CIA a boatload of laws were broken (see FBI Does Preemptive Damage Control By Confirming The Trump Campaign Was The Target Of A Spying Operation).
And so the push by John Durham to interview Joseph Mifsud and rumors that extensive exculpatory information existed on Page and Papadopoulos that would have put their activities in a different light brings new significance.
Back to Byrne. Why did he come forward?
Byrne’s decision to come forward didn’t come lightly. However, he said it was necessary after watching what had transpired between the FBI, the intelligence community and the probe into President Trump’s campaign over the past several years.
“It was something I knew I had to do,” he told this reporter. “Those running the operation were not honest and in the end I realized I was being used in some sort of soft coup.”
One could speculate that it was more than a soft coup against Trump. If all the reports we’ve received are correct, this resembles more of a decapitation strike aimed at taking out all resistance to the Democrat party. If the Republican President, the NRA, and other conservative groups can be alleged to have all been under the influence of a foreign power, albeit a Third World kleptocracy with an GDP smaller than New York State, then the entire opposition to the Democrats is discredited for years to come. The reason I don’t find this far fetched is that four years ago I would never have believed that the FBI and CIA would have interjected themselves into a presidential election on the side of one of the candidates and I never would have believed the UN Ambassador would be unmasking the personal communications of American citizens at the rate of one per work day.
If that is the case, then a lot of very powerful people need to be sharing a cell with Tiny the White Supremacist Biker and their organizations need to be burned to the ground. If it isn’t a global conspiracy and just a series of events carried out by politically motivated law enforcement and intelligence agents, they need to do hard time and everyone associated with them reduced to penury.