In the clamor over Bob Woodward’s new book, an anonymous op-ed in The New York Times, and George Papadopoulos’s media tour following his 14-day sentence for lying to the FBI about his 2016 contacts with Russia while a member of the Trump campaign, an important Trump-Russia story got lost: the continuing saga of Maria Butina.
In a brief objecting to Butina’s request to review her bond (and get out of jail pending trial), federal prosecutors provided more details about her efforts to use the NRA and conservative religious organizations as vehicles for pushing pro-Russia policies to particular Republican presidential candidates and the party generally.
Here’s the punchline: In the seven weeks since Butina’s detention hearing on July 18, 2018, the Russian government has conducted six consular visits with Butina and passed four diplomatic notes in her favor to the US Department of State (more notes than for any other Russian citizen imprisoned in the US in the past year). Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has spoken to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo twice to complain about Butina’s prosecution, the Kremlin Twitter account has changed its avatar to Butina’s face, and RT, Russia’s government-funded television network has published numerous articles on its website criticizing Butina’s prosecution and detention.
The 29-year-old former owner of a Siberian furniture store is generating a lot of interest from Russians in high places. Watch this space.
Here’s a complete list of this week’s update to the Trump-Russia Timeline:
JULY 14, 2015: Torshin Asks Butina for Info about Trump
APRIL 23-28, 2016: Torshin Gives Butina Another Task
SEPT. 1-3, 2018: Trump’s Anger Turns to Wray
SEPT. 4, 2018: Trump Denies Calling Sessions ‘Mentally Retarded’ and a ‘Dumb Southerner’
SEPT. 5, 2018: Anonymous Insider Pens Op-Ed on Trump’s Danger
SEPT. 5, 2018: UK Charges Two Russians in Poisoning
SEPT. 7, 2018: Credico Appears Before Mueller’s Grand Jury; Corsi Bows Out
SEPT. 7, 2018: Papadopoulos Sentenced; Trump Reacts
SEPT. 7, 2018: Papadopoulos Breaks Silence; Implicates Sessions
SEPT. 7, 2018: Russia Wants Butina Released
SEPT. 9, 2018: Papadopoulos Says Sessions Was ‘Quite Enthusiastic’ About Trump-Putin Meeting, Kept Campaign Informed