A Russian woman charged this week with serving as a foreign agent has been in regular contact with Russian intelligence, the Justice Department says, and she attempted to offer sex in exchange for a position with an organization she targeted.
Prosecutors included that information in court documents as part of their request that Maria Butina be detained ahead of her trial because they say she is a “serious” flight risk.
The government’s attorneys cited “the nature of the charges, her history of deceptive conduct, the potential sentence she faces, the strong evidence of guilt, extensive foreign connections and her lack of any meaningful ties to the United States.”
They also wrote that Butina, who was indicted on Tuesday by a grand jury in Washington, D.C., has “access to funds and an intention to move money outside the United States.”
Moreover, they wrote, her lease is up at the end of July and she had boxes packed, apparently with the intention to move.
“Because Butina has been exposed as an illegal agent of Russia, there is the grave risk that she will appeal to those within that government with whom she conspired to aid her escape from the United States,” the government’s attorneys wrote.
Butina has a hearing on Wednesday afternoon in Washington. Her attorney has told NPR that the Justice Department’s charges against her are overblown and that she hasn’t done anything wrong.
Yada yada yada. Get to the sex stuff. Ah, here we go….
The FBI said it has determined that even though Butina had a personal relationship with someone described in court papers as Person 1 — identified by NPR as political fundraiser Paul Erickson — she “offered an individual other than Person 1 sex in exchange for a position with a special interest organization. Further, in papers seized by the FBI, Butina complained about living with Person 1.”
The organization is not identified in the court documents. Butina and Torshin sought to build bridges with American political leaders via the National Rifle Association, but it isn’t clear whether that is the entity to which the government alluded in its court filing.
Yeah. The “organization” is the NRA. We know that. Who was the person that she offered sex to in the NRA, if not Erickson? (Please be Ted Nugent). We’ll find out eventually, I’m sure.
Erickson cited the “sometimes international reach” of the NRA as part of a pitch he made in 2016 to members of Donald Trump’s campaign. He and the Russians sought to use the imprimatur of the NRA in order to meet U.S. political leaders and Trump, citing a “back channel” he had forged with the Kremlin.
The Trump campaign did not agree to a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2016 as Erickson proposed, but Donald Trump Jr. did meet Torshin briefly that year at the NRA’s convention in Louisville.
The NRA has so far made no comment this week about the Butina charges or the Torshin connection.
The FBI said it saw Butina and Person 1 at a U-Haul truck facility on July 14, a day before she was arrested. Butina had boxes in her apartment the following day when the FBI arrived.
But she was caught.
Sarah Sanders, WH spokesliar, says they are “studying” the indictment, which is here:
And here is a more informative memorandum offered by the DOJ to justify that she stay locked up:
UPDATE — The White House is defending her??? Why??? Sarah Sander says:
“Just because somebody is redheaded, they were accused of being some sort of spy for Russia. I think that this has gotten totally out of control. You guys need to take a little bit of a step back, slow down, and quit going after the Trump administration on every single thing that takes place.”
— TPM Livewire (@TPMLiveWire) July 18, 2018
Maybe people will stop going after the Trump Administration if they stop saying things like “Just because somebody is redheaded, they were accused of being some sort of spy for Russia.” Forget the lie and the stupid logic… WHY ARE THEY SAYING SHE IS NOT A SPY WHEN THEIR DOJ SAYS SHE IS?
OMG It gets worse.
Sarah Sanders says that “there was conversation” between Putin and Trump about Russian authorities questioning Bill Browder and Michael McFaul; Sanders said there wasn’t a commitment made, but that Trump would “work with his team.” (via CBS) pic.twitter.com/eXnUApGuZX
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) July 18, 2018
WH press sec Sanders acknowledged that Putin talked to Trump about his interest in prosecuting financier Bill Browder and former US ambassador Michael McFaul. she declined to rule out US cooperation in that effort, saying Trump would consult his national security team
— John Harwood (@JohnJHarwood) July 18, 2018
Michael McFaul is the former United State Ambassador to Russia. Trump talked to Putin about AND IS CONSIDERING handing over a former U.S. ambassador. To Putin. Trump is actually following up on this with this national security team, not ruling it out.
And we’re back to wondering whose side he is on.
Beyond outrageous. Amb. McFaul served our country honorably and with full diplomatic immunity. If the White House cannot defend and protect our diplomats, like our service members, they are serving a hostile foreign power not the American people. https://t.co/XjtYrKMBjX
— Susan Rice (@AmbassadorRice) July 18, 2018