Wow. as our own Mayme Berth reported earlier day, Maria Butina, a Russian national arrested HERE in the United States is charged on suspicion of helping to funnel money through the NRA to help elect Donald Trump.
As Mayme made clear, Maria operated under Alexander Torshin who not only had strong ties to the Kremlin, and the NRA, but also undeniably met with Trump at least once, a dinner held that Trump describes as including some NRA members, but his discussions with Torshin lasted “only a couple minutes.” Because Trump has never told a lie, we all believe that.
Having established that Butina is under arrest here in the United States, if she ever goes to trial, it will be absolutely fascinating to hear the evidence that comes out. On the other hand, if Butina ever wishes to see sunshine again, she will need to give up the goods, and it will be absolutely fascinating to hear the evidence that comes out. The evidence IS coming out.
Rachel Maddow did note that Maria texted Torshi at 3:00 a.m. after learning that Trump had been declared the winner, no excitement or shock, just a simple, “I’m going to sleep, awaiting further orders.” That’s not pillow talk between excited lovers enjoying an upset. That’s an op, completed, and reporting in to superiors.
Which makes me wonder.
This woman was obviously highly effective and highly connected, setting up dinners between Trump and top NRA officials. The period between the election and taking the oath of office is one of the busiest periods for a soon to be presidents. It would also be the time to call in those “favors owed” and make some demands on what is to be done once Trump became president.
That fascinates me from a back channel perspective because we’ve heard that word – “back channel” before associated with Trump’s son in-law and convicted felon Mike Flynn. One would think that anyone with experience setting up back channels prior to the election would be one you would want to involve in setting up back channels after the election.
Why is that so important? Well, before the election, the discussions would center upon “What we will do to help you, Donald.” Discussions taking place after the election would no longer involve helping Donald Trump. They would very quickly, like instantly, turn to and now here is what you are going to do for the Motherland Russian Republic. We can also be sure that one side instantly became the “boss” and wouldn’t be concerned with offending feelings or respecting the office.
And Trump would be forced to do whatever he was told to do for Russia, knowing that Russia has plenty of evidence that they can dump at any point on back channels prior to the election. In short, even if Trump had Russian loans or money laundered prior to the election, he could still easily be blackmailed. We know that Mueller does not believe he can indict a sitting president for crimes committed as president, but anyone with a calendar can tell that such back channel meetings occurring prior to living in the White House would not constitute a crime committed while in office.
This seems almost as important to me as the indictments that came out Friday. If Maria Bartina successfully relayed any message to Trump about what Russia now expected from him, and Trump relayed a message back, that is pretty well the end of Donald Trump. That is selling out the United States in every way, whether called treason, or whatever, it is giving up U.S. policy for personal reasons. Again, it doesn’t get much worse for a president, and it almost surely would have occurred prior to Trump becoming president.
The other key is that, as we said, she is sitting in a jail, ready to talk. She would have many reasons to not talk. Life expectancy for people who talk isn’t all that hot when it is against Putin’s interests. BUT, the FBI is also pretty good at hiding people in their witness protection program. With someone who may bring down a president, it wouldn’t shock me if they had her working as a substitute grade school teacher in Adelaide Australia within a week of it all being over. Or she might be a new recruit into the U.S. armed forces, easier to keep an eye on.
Last, and the biggest wild card of all, the NRA. The NRA, as you need not to be told, has replaced the church, or become a church – pick, for the “Far Right.” What happens if it comes to pass that a Russian says that Putin and his pals purposefully used the NRA to get a Republican elected (they have NO problem with that, so far) but then orders started going the other direction?
Split the NRA and you split the entire right, jeez it would probably be close to 50-50, the true ammosexuals versus the “I like guns because liberals hate them,” crowd. The latter wouldn’t be too happy the United States get sold out to anyone, even if the seller was a Republican.
Republicans have NO problem with cheating, or hypocrisy. But, cheating by assisting another nation? Cheating by giving Russia whatever the hell they ask for, up to backing out of NATO or whatever? No matter what Trump says, there’s no other nation building up a military with missiles designed to take out both Florida and our aircraft carriers. They won’t take it well, giving up U.S. policy to Russia.
The NRA factor is just fascinating, and so are the consequences of this woman being in custody. I can easily see Trump’s ratings cutting down to the low 30s very very quickly. IF that were to happen, many of those Trump apologists in Congress will very quickly turn, seeing that backing someone with extremely low approval ratings as a sure loser.
Well, this ought to be interesting.