Russian spy Maria Butina — the Kremlin-connected gun rights activist from Moscow who traveled to the United States specifically to infiltrate the Republican Party and the National Rifle Association and succeeded in doing so — is back in the news today as she has entered a court filing showing her intention to change her not guilty plea to guilty in DC federal court.
Butina was arrested by the Justice Department for conspiring against the United States as a foreign agent — a form of espionage — in mid-July of 2018. She has until now maintained her innocence, despite the mountains of evidence that she came here under the direction of Russian intelligence forces, cozied up to many high-ranking Republicans, and even helped advance Russian interests with the financial help of oligarchs who were at the time and currently are under sanction by the United States.
Ms. Butina, who sometimes stylized her first name with a double-i, even at one point met with Donald Trump Junior, who lied and said the two had never met, as part of her effort to cozy up to the Trump presidential campaign.
Many believe that the guilty plea is indicative of Butina entering into a cooperation agreement with the Justice Department, although little is yet known of the details of her rationale for the change.
What is known is that the sudden reversal is on a similar timeline with another development in the same vein: That the NRA, who Butina lobbied, dealt in illegal campaign contributions from Russia, was already known — but a new report from less than a week ago shows that the Trump campaign likely coordinated with the gun-selling lobbyist group, buying ad time in the same kinds of blocks on the same stations during the same programs as ads purchased by the NRA during the presidential campaign.
The NRA is known to have spent more than $30 million to elect Trump, more than any other independent right-wing group.
But those ad buys were more than coincidental.
The group that the NRA employed for their media blitz was Red Eagle Media, while the Trump campaign’s ads were purchased through American Media & Advocacy Group. As it now turns out, the two groups are so closely linked through a parent organization, National Media Research, that the same person signed off on both ad buys.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen a situation where illegal coordination seems more obvious. It is so blatant that it doesn’t even seem sloppy. Everyone involved probably just thinks there aren’t going to be any consequences.”
That’s Ann Ravel, the former Chairwoman of the Federal Elections Commission, the government oversight group trained to spot this kind of illegal coordination. And she couldn’t be more correct. Red Eagle, AMAG, and National Media, according to corporate, FEC, and FCC records, all share the same address in Alexandria, Virginia.
So is Butina connected to Red Eagle? It depends on how cozy you believe she was with the NRA.
Perhaps a picture of her with David Keene, the former director of the NRA, would convince you?
Or maybe one with an even more recent NRA leader, Wayne LaPierre?
No matter how Trump tries to claim at this point that he was never in bed with Russia, there is now rock-solid evidence of it, at the very least through illegal campaign coordination with the NRA. Maria Butina may be at the center of all of it — and she appears to have flipped for the Justice Department.
Featured image via screen capture