Russia

The NRA’s Russian Spy Formally Pleads Guilty

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

We knew this was coming but, now that it's official, we have a little more detail.

Maria Butina, the 30-year-old Russian spy who gained access to conservative influence groups by infiltrating the National Rifle Association (NRA), has pleaded guilty to operating as an unregistered foreign agent for the Russian government.

WASHINGTON – Maria Butina pleaded guilty on Thursday to conspiring to act as an agent for the Russian government in the United States, admitting she was involved in efforts to set up informal backchannels between US and Russian officials leading up to the 2016 presidential election.

Butina agreed to cooperate with prosecutors as part of her plea deal, and a lawyer for the government said at her plea hearing that her cooperation was “ongoing.” [...]

Prosecutors say Butina’s American partner — labeled “US Person 1” and known to be South Dakota GOP operative Paul Erickson — helped connect her with prominent conservatives as part of a years-long influence campaign. He has not been charged with any wrongdoing.

The actual court filings makes it seem fairly clear that Paul Erickson had some if not full knowledge of who Butina is and what she was doing.

If that's the case, it could explain why federal prosecutors recently informed Erickson that he's under investigation and could be indicted.

Butina's formal admission of guilt also establishes that she received instructions from Russia and, more specifically, from Russian oligarch Alexander Torshin. Torshin is a governor at the Central Bank of Russia.

Without naming names, the court documents also spell out how she met some of the GOP's biggest political figures including one "Person" who appears to be Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. We already knew Butina met Walker among many others, but the this makes it clear that it was her mission to gain access to them through the NRA.

You can read the full plea agreement here and her formal admission of guilt here.

  • Badgerite

    The picture above says it all. Obviously, it was Hillary Clinton who was colluding with Russian intelligence.

  • katanahamon

    Bullshit the R’s are saying you “can’t indict a sitting president.” What example does that set? Everyone knew exactly what Rump was..a failed, bankrupted con man looking to make some cash. He did that, but then won. We still haven’t seen his taxes, he’s obviously guilty, I mean, how many times has the lawyer gone away for crimes but the client hasn’t? Like the spotlight surrounding a presidency wouldn’t eventually light up his obvious illegal bullshit? Are we really going to continue with this charade? Rump must truly be demented if he remotely thinks he’s going to get away with it. “Revolt” if he gets convicted? Hah! His lazy assed followers will simply look for the next con man to lead them astray. They won’t even get off the couch..

    • Nefercat

      Yeah, I remember all those tea party marches on this, that, and the other thing. Not a one of them ended up with with anything more than a few people sitting on lawn chairs, with more suckered media than attendees.

  • muselet

    Every R, every “prominent conservative,” every officer in the NRA must be suffering palpitations as they leaf frantically through their calendars to see exactly when they met Maria Butina. A lot of lawyers are going to make a lot of coin defending those guys.

    This is the sort of news that makes it worth getting out of bed in the morning.

    –alopecia

    • katanahamon

      I just hope they’re all f’ing miserable, especially Rump and family. He needs to be jailed, jailed jailed and jailed. Karma and justice for “lock her up,”..f’ing fraud!

  • katanahamon

    Ridiculous that Rump is still mouthing off in the White House..he needs to be carted off to prison immediately. His lies aren’t funny, or cute, or smart..they’re insulting and ludicrous. “I didn’t tell my lawyer to break the law..!” Sorry buddy..ignorance of the law doesn’t let you off the hook. You’re going down…soon…