Maria Butina Arrested on Charges of Being Russian Agent

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Andrew Donaldson

Born and raised in West Virginia, Andrew has since lived and traveled around the world several times over. Though frequently writing about politics out of a sense of duty and love of country, most of the time he would prefer discussions on history, culture, occasionally nerding on aviation, and his amateur foodie tendencies. He can usually be found misspelling/misusing words on Twitter @four4thefire and his writing website Yonderandhome.com

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25 Responses

  1. Avatar Burt Likko says:

    My thought about the Butina business is that she was able to do what she did by saying things GOP’ers wanted to hear, by finding one of their favorite songs and learning how to sing all the words. It’s a high-water illustration of “tribe over country.”Report

    • I agree. People need to understand that the vast amount of intelligence work, especially clandestine HUMINT work like this is, is not cloak and daggar-type stuff but people getting their ears (or other things) tickled to the point they voluntarily give up the information the operative is after.Report

    • Avatar Troublesome Frog in reply to Burt Likko says:

      I finally watched Sacha Baron Cohen’s “Who Is America?” and he abuses the political affiliation game pretty well in the last act. The first couple of acts just seems like him being mean to normal people who really don’t deserve it, but the final bit is amazing. A gaggle of Republican politicians, current and retired, reciting the most insane stuff on camera in support of a weird Israel / gun lobby thing.

      They’re objecting that they were “tricked” (which they were), but that doesn’t mean it’s not revealing. Nobody is dumb enough to believe that the things they were saying weren’t ridiculous. They knew those things were completely nuts, but they said them anyway because they’re so used to debasing themselves to please the gun lobby that what seems completely out of bounds for normal people is just a tiny push on their normal boundaries.

      Sing the song and you’re in. Fail to sing the song and you’re doomed.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Troublesome Frog says:

        Ted Koeppel managed to realize that something was afoot and ordered everyone to pack up. I’m honestly a bit surprised that SBC is still able to get people to respond to his schtick considering he was doing it for years. Ali G was around for years and he still got politicians to make fools of themselves. You would think their handlers would know better.Report

        • Avatar Troublesome Frog in reply to Saul Degraw says:

          I’m guessing that when an aide says, “Somebody from [insert the special interest group that owns you] wants to talk to you,” you jump instead of thinking. Even when it seems immoral, you jump. Even when it seems completely insane, you jump.

          This was just SBC exploiting a terrible security hole in these guys’ way of approaching their jobs.Report

  2. Avatar greginak says:

    That russia has been snuggling up with the NRA has been known for at least a couple years now. TPM talked a lot about before the election. Aside from Rohrbacher, ( R-Russia) many other high political R’s were going for visits to russia. And of course jill stein.Report

  3. Avatar greginak says:

    I’ve seen it bouncing around the twitters that the Russian Ministry of Defense is ready to implement the international security agreement that was agreed to yesterday. The basic response has been ” huh…wha….agreement????” So we got that going for us, whatever it is.Report

  4. Avatar InMD says:

    I know we’re supposed to be freaking out about all things with the scent of Salat Olivier right now but this sounds a lot more like the 2010 Anna Chapman thing, which IIRC was mostly determined to be ineffective and clownish.Report

  5. Avatar Chip Daniels says:

    What is alarming is that when put together, all the pieces show how determined Putin is to compromise Western democracies, and use the tools of confusion and dissension.

    It isn’t just Trump, or Rohrabacher, or the NRA or the white supremacists or the right wing trolls and bots and blogosphere; He is active in Europe and the UK using the same tools, of multi-pronged attacks at all levels.

    It isn’t just some coincidental alignment of interests; It is a planned and coordinated attack.Report

  6. Avatar Mike Schilling says:

    Maria Butina
    What a wonderful name
    Maria Butina
    Of gun and Kremlin fame
    She means dark money, funneled through NRA
    She’s our virtue-free new GOP
    Maria ButinaReport

    • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      What’s striking is how open and blatant it all was.

      She was very open about being a Russian national, and was obviously well connected to powerful people back home, and had very rapidly inculcated herself into circles of very powerful Americans in the NRA, GOP, and evangelical circles.

      And yet we are supposed to believe that no one ever considered that she might be working on behalf of the Russian government?

      They knew. They knew that the Russian government was attempting to manipulate American politics, but they didn’t care, and still don’t.

      It isn’t that the Trump presidential campaign colluded with Russia.
      The entire apparatus of the Republican Party and its affiliated groups have been eagerly coopted, and welcoming of the influence of the Russian government.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      The Dakota Free Press provides us with a nice photograph of Ms. Butina posing for GQ Russia in 2014. We are living in a third rate Ian Fleming knock off.Report

  7. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    Regarding Russia and Trump or really what Putin is trying to do in general, I’m going to borrow an expression from tort law; res ipsa loquitur. This is legal Latin for “it speaks for itself.” You use it in negligence cases when your not sure why something happened but you know that somebody did something wrong because these things don’t happen unless somebody was negligent. Maria Butina, Trump’s surprisingly courteous and deferential behavior to Putin, and Russians showing up everywhere and anywhere is evidence that Putin is deeply trying to destroy the post-World War II Western alliance. Its just that Putin as discovered that doing this from the Right is a lot more effective than doing this from the Left. Thats Putin’s secret.Report

    • Avatar George Turner in reply to LeeEsq says:

      Russia has been supremely focused on destroying the Western alliance since 1918 or so, with a very brief pause during the part of WW-II that came after Hitler betrayed their carve-up-Europe pact with him.

      And sometimes they’ve been asked to intervene in our elections, such as when Edward Kennedy said he’d help the Soviets handle Reagan if they’d help the Democrats in the 1984 election, offering to visit Moscow and get Andropov time on US networks, which would be rigged to look like regular journalism.

      2009 Forbes article about it.Report

  8. Avatar Kolohe says:

    Huh, Maria Butina is exactly old enough to be Paige Jennings’ daughter. That’s some good continuity tracking from the show runners.Report

    • Avatar greginak in reply to Kolohe says:

      To be fair to the guys she had serious intellectual discussions with i’ve heard Russian is a very sexy language.

      Report

      • Avatar Kolohe in reply to greginak says:

        I mean, she’s no Anna Chapman or Keri Russell, but I can sort of see why certain men that care neither for their marriages nor their ongoing favorable SSBI adjudication would take an interest.Report

        • Avatar pillsy in reply to Kolohe says:

          In fairness to US PERSON 1, he has evidently never been married.

          Still, moving in with a Russian agent who’s young enough to be your daughter is a hell of a mid-life crisis.Report

        • Avatar George Turner in reply to Kolohe says:

          I think the government response was poorly thought out and badly executed. To check undo Russian influence in such situations, the administration should instead send a request to Britain’s MI6 to send over a hot Scottish red-head to counter the Russian red head by making it a threesome. They might even get in a dangerous nekkid secret agent cat fight. Meow.

          That’s my view as a US person and hopefully a potential target of such traps.Report