Alexander Torshin, the deputy governor of Russia’s central bank in Moscow, was caught by Spanish organized crime authorities on wiretaps obtained during a May 2016 meeting with the National Rifle Association, in a conversation that led to a meeting between Mr. Torshin and Donald Trump’s son Don Jr. later that month.
If a statement involving the NRA and Russia sounds familiar to you, it could be because Maria Butina, Torshin’s assistant at the time he was caught on the wiretaps, has just been indicted for exactly the same activities — namely, that she “and others known and unknown to the grand jury…knowingly did combine, conspire, confederate, and agree together and with each other to commit an offense against the United States.”
In fact, Butina just had her request to appear in court in civilian clothes — as opposed to a prison jumpsuit — summarily denied by a judge on Wednesday, due to having filed the request less than an hour in advance of the proceedings.
But regardless of what happens to Ms. Butina in the proceedings to determine whether or not she is a Russian spy, it’s those wiretaps that have people inside Trump’s inner circle worried, and with good reason. The Spanish prosecutor who produced the tapes, José Grinda, told a gathering at the Hudson Institute that audio copies and transcripts of the wiretaps his team obtained have already been transferred to the FBI here in the United States.
Asked directly whether he was concerned about the conversations between Alexander Torshin and Donald Trump, Jr. that came from the arrangements made on the tapes, Mr. Grinda was succinct:
Mr. Trump’s son should be concerned.”
Today’s proceedings with Maria Butina may produce an outcome for Trump Junior, in fact, that seems even less favorable than simply being implicated in a wiretap. Butina likely knows much more than what was picked up in the covert recordings, and knowing where the skeletons are buried is a powerful bit of leverage for someone who may soon be designated a spy.
Featured image via screen capture