How Is Maria Butina Tied To Russian Monies Being Funneled To NRA

Image result for PHOTOS OF MARIA BUTINA AND NRA

It is perfectly legal for a Russian national to connect with a US organization like the National Rifle Association (NRA) to promote how it could benefit from an association with Russia. When a foreign national gets involved with endeavors of this nature, US law requires them to register as a foreign agent.

But in this case, the FBI is focused on how Russia funneled monies to the NRA which then delivered these monies to GOP legislators who were running to be elected/ reelected in 2016 which means they are interested in what information Ms. Butina can provide along these lines.

As per a 2/21/18 Politico report:

$5,900,000 given to GOP in 2016 election cycle

$106,000 given to Democrats in 2016 election cycle

NRA gave $171,977.00 to House Speaker Paul Ryan

new government filing regarding Maria Butina, a Russian national who was recently arrested this past the week of the 16th of July 2018  explains in part, that her political efforts in the US were being at least partially financed by the Russian oligarch Konstantin Nikolaev. As per her own US Senate testimony. Nikolaev and former Russia’s President Putin’s adviser Alexander Voloshin jointly own a company called American Ethane. Last year, the republican President Donald J. Trump went out of his way to place emphases on American Ethane during a public event.

Link to article with listing of charges: Maria Butina: government claims Russian arrested as spy tied to FSB /VOX …

See: FBI investigating whether Russia funneled cash to NRA to aid Trump/ McClatchyDC

A tugboat pulls the Navigator Ceres in Brevik, Norway on March 20, 2016.
March 20, 2016.Tomas Ostberg

As per 7/10/18 Guardian report, Vladimir Putin’s former chief of staff has a secret investment in an American energy company hailed by Donald Trump as creating jobs for American workers.

Image result for PHOTOS OF Alexander Voloshin
Alexander Voloshin

Alexander Voloshin – who served as Boris Yeltsin’s chief of staff before working for Putin between 2000 and 2003 – has an undisclosed stake in American Ethane, a Houston-based firm that recently signed a multibillion dollar export deal with China.

Voloshin is part of a consortium of Russian investors in American Ethane that at one point included the oligarch and billionaire Roman Abramovich.

The revelation comes ahead of Trump’s four-day visit to the UK, beginning on Thursday, and his summit on 16 July with President Putin in Helsinki.

In November 2017, Trump presided over a series of trade agreements with his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping. One of the biggest was a $26bn (£20bn) deal to supply liquid ethane to China, struck between privately owned American Ethane and a large Chinese conglomerate.”

Link to entire article: Former Putin adviser has secret investment in US energy firm

MARIA BUTINA IS THE WOMAN IN THE PICTURE

Here is the rest of the story…

On July 22, 2018, Rosalind S. Helderman of the Washington Post penned the following report, “Russian billionaire with U.S. investments backed alleged agent Maria Butina, according to a person familiar with her Senate testimony”

Excerpts:

“Maria Butina, the Russian woman charged in federal court last week with acting as an unregistered agent of her government, received financial support from Konstantin Nikolaev, a Russian billionaire with investments in U.S. energy and technology companies, according to a person familiar with testimony she gave Senate investigators.”

Image result for photos of Konstantin Nikolaev
Konstantin Nikolaev

“Butina told the Senate Intelligence Committee in April that Nikolaev provided funding for a gun rights group she represented, according to the person. A spokesman for Nikolaev confirmed that he was in contact with her as she was launching the gun rights group in Russia between 2012 and 2014. He declined to confirm whether Nikolaev gave her “”financial support.”

Nikolaev’s fortune has been built largely through port and railroad investments in Russia. He also sits on the board of American Ethane, a Houston ethane company that was showcased by President Trump at an event in China last year, and is an investor in a Silicon Valley start-up.”

However, Nikolaev’s son Andrey, who is studying in the United States, volunteered in the 2016 campaign in support of Trump’s candidacy, according a person familiar with his activities. Nikolaev was spotted at the Trump International Hotel in Washington during Trump’s inauguration in January 2017, according to two people aware of his presence.”

“In a court filing last week, prosecutors said Butina’s emails and chat logs are full of references to a billionaire as the “funder” of her activities. They wrote that the billionaire is a “known Russian businessman with deep ties to the Russian Presidential Administration.”

“Prosecutors did not identify Butina’s funder by name but said he travels often to the United States and was listed by Forbes this year as having a net worth of $1.2 billion — which is the same as Nikolaev’s current listing.”

Image result for photos of Konstantin Nikolaev
MARIA BUTINA

“Butina was ordered held without bond last week after she was charged with conspiring to work as a Russian agent. Prosecutors allege that she sought to meet GOP politicians and infiltrate conservative organizations, including the National Rifle Association, at the direction of a Russian government official, in an attempt to advance the Kremlin’s interests.”

“According to prosecutors, for two years she traveled back and forth to the United States, often accompanying Russian central banker Alexander Torshin to NRA events and other political meetings. Prosecutors have said her activities were directed by a high-level Russian government official who matches the description of Torshin.”

Image result for PHOTOS OF NRA IN MOSCOW
ALEXANDER TORSHIN

“In August 2016, she came to Washington to study full time as a graduate student at American University.

“Nikolaev last had contact with the Russian activist in 2014, according to his spokesman, who said that at the time, Butina had a “public profile in Russia as a blogger on key domestic issues that were of interest.”

“Nikolaev’s connections to the Russian government “cannot be characterized as deep,” his spokesman said.”

“Mr. Nikolaev has no connections to the Russian government other than those that are strictly required professionally,” said the spokesman, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the ongoing investigation.”

“Like countless other young people studying in the U.S., Andrey volunteered to hand out leaflets just for the experience,” he said.”

“Konstantin Nikolaev is a major investor in American Ethane and sits on the company’s board.”

Donald Trump presided over a series of trade agreements with his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping. One of the biggest was a deal to supply liquid ethane to China, struck between privately owned American Ethane, and a large Chinese conglomerate. Photograph: Alex Brandon/AP

“The company was spotlighted by Trump during a visit to Beijing in November. During the trip, Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping presided over a ceremony in which U.S. companies publicly signed deals with Chinese partners. One of the 15 deals deal inked at the event was a $26 billion deal for American Ethane to deliver liquid ethane to China.”

“At the event, Trump and Xi sat on a raised stage and applauded while executives, including American Ethane chief executive John Houghtaling II, came forward to sign trade deals at a table festooned with American and Chinese flags.”

“The White House declined to comment. Houghtaling declined to comment, except to say that Nikolaev had no role in the China deal or the Beijing ceremony.”

Link to entire article: Russian billionaire with U.S. investments backed alleged agent Maria

21 comments

  1. Thanks for your extensive research, this clarifies many issues if proven to be true. I can see the NRA being disillusioned with the direction of liberal politics and wanted to return to a more traditional conservative Christian America. In today’s contemporary Russia, the NRA seems to be in alignment with Putin’s gov’t and style of leadership. Trump fashions himself to be an autocratic dictator with conservative/ libertarian values so funneling NRA monies to his campaign makes total sense. However, proving that this is all part of Putin’s master plan to divide the West and take over America… that would be difficult to prove in a court of law.

    Like

    • 1EarthUnited,
      Special Counsel Mueller does not have to prove that anything was Putin’s master plan to divide the West and take over America. Putin is not on trial. One only has to read the indictments to know who is being charged, and what the charges are.

      Liked by 2 people

        • Gronda, you are very welcomed, but you give me too much credit. I’m slowing down these days and just when I thought about taking a break, Manafort’s trial begins this week.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Dear Xena,

          Re: I’ve never been outside of the U.S., but have experienced cultural divides within this country.

          President Trump has been using these cultural differences to divide this country and to sow the seeds of discord, distrust, hate, fear.

          We can’t allow him to get away with this

          Hugs, Gronda.

          Like

        • Gronda,
          Trump certainly is using that to his advantage. It woke up many. They might not have been fully aware of how devastating it is until they saw a candidate for the presidency mock the disable and encourage violence against protesters and people of color. After he was sworn in, he didn’t change but actually became much bolder.

          Liked by 1 person

      • Yes I read the indictments of the 12 GRU officers, the charges against them seem arbitrary, capricious, baseless allegations. In the American judicial system, the accused must undergo trial by jury, charges are presented and the accused can defend themselves with council. The prosecuting attorney must show evidence and build a case to litigate, then the judge rules. In this case, there will be no trial as there’s no extradition between our two countries, so charges cannot be investigated, the accused cannot properly defend themselves, and so the indictments are meaningless and simply for political show.

        If you have another perspective on how we can prove Russia’s interference, I’d love to hear it. Otherwise it’s the same OLD story…. Putin and Trump simply denies EVERYTHING, and there’s nothing we can do about it.

        That’s why we’re patiently awaiting SC Mueller’s investigation and long awaited PROOF, so we can finally hold Russia accountable for it’s meddling. It’s put up or shut up according to both Presidents:

        Like

        • 1EarthUnited,
          How do you go from Maria Butina being charged, to the 12 Russians being indicted? I thought we were talking about Butina.

          Re:

          “In this case, there will be no trial as there’s no extradition between our two countries, so charges cannot be investigated, the accused cannot properly defend themselves, and so the indictments are meaningless and simply for political show.”

          Indictments are never meaningless. If those indicted come to America or even another country that does extradite, warrants can be issued for their arrest. Another reason that indictments are not meaningless is because the Department of Justice took evidence before a federal grand jury. It was the federal grand jury who returned a “true Bill.” In other words, no politician is making up anything and filing indictments based on their own perception.

          I take it that you are not American.

          Liked by 2 people

        • Dear Xena,

          It seems that we were both writing our comments to 1EarthUnited at the same time.

          I have this story of when I led a tour from Brussels, Belgium to Russia around 1981 before Perestroika, when everyone knew that as foreign tourists, we would all be monitored.

          One evening while in Moscow, I had this urge to visit Gorky Park. Remember that 1981 crime novel with the title, “Gorky Park”.

          In the early evening, I hopped on this boat that dropped me off at a spot near the park. I took my time walking and enjoying all the sights at my leisure.

          Then sometime in the evening around 10:00 pm at the latest, I decided it was time to return to my hotel. Much to my dismay, it became apparent that Moscow closed down early which I’m certain doesn’t happen today.

          Out of desparation, I stopped some young peoples to ask in English for assistance/ direction to get back to the hotel.

          Out of nowhere these two well dressed young gentlemen who spoke perfect English were at my side. I explained my dilemma and they assured me that they would escort me safely back to my destination. They accompanied me onto the subway using these cards. On the train they kept me company by speaking English. As a couple of passengers started yelling and pointing their fingers at me, these two kind men flashed their cards and the fellow travelers were instantly quieted.

          As they continued to walk with me to the hotel, I asked for a rest on a nearby bench. For some time, we somehow started to swap back and forth the propaganda stories of both countries. The divide was amazing to where we had a few laughs. The lesson that I learned was that this cultural divide was for real.

          And I was never so happy to have been followed/ monitored in my life.

          Hugs, Gronda

          Like

        • Gronda,
          What a story! Thanks so much for sharing it.

          Re:

          “The lesson that I learned was that this cultural divide was for real. “

          I’ve never been outside of the U.S., but have experienced cultural divides within this country. The divides are not always necessarily bad or intended for evil, but some are, such as hate organizations who do not respect those who don’t look like them. The political divide with the GOP being supported by hate groups has grown since the days when the “Moral Majority” began telling church members to vote to control the lives of others while allowing those candidates with that platform “forgiveness” for doing the same things.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Dear 1EarthUnited,

          Of course the US peoples can be perceived as being hostage to internal politics just as the Russian peoples can be bound/ restricted to the internal politics of its country, Russia. We call this the great cultural divide. It is to be expected.

          Of course the USA being a democracy, benefits from a free press which both Presidents Trump and Putin love to hate. In the USA, journalists do not fear jail time or execution. If they are jailed for protecting the identity of a confidential source, they wear this as a badge of honor.

          I as always a peaceful protester do not suffer from the fear of being killed as a critic of this government. There are so many media outlets in the USA and other democratic countries that keeping a secret for long is not an easy task.

          The USA is infamous for hanging out all its dirty laundry. We have our sins/ faults/ ugly points in history that we are continually working to overcome and to learn the lessons of these past and current missteps/ sins. We know and accept that the USA is far from perfect; that the USA is a work in progress; and that the dream for a better USA is a possibility, a goal that we must ALL strive to make true.

          We highly value non-politically influenced judicial and law enforcement entities; we welcome diversity, different points of views.

          I am an admirer of this tweet from The Resistance @ nightlypolitics:

          “You can support the police while supporting the black lives matter movement. You can be a patriot while respecting the kneeling NFL players. You can support immigrants while wanting a strong border. You cannot support Russia and Putin and call yourself an American.”

          What most of us love about this country, leaders like Presidents Trump and Putin, despise.They want to rob us of our dream for a better USA.

          We want to be toiling towards making this a greater country, a place where everyone has a real chance to become the best that they can be.

          Here are some Martin Luther King’s quotes which help to portray this dream of what the USA can become”

          “We will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

          “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

          “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed – we hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.”

          “Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.”

          “Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children.”

          “We cannot walk alone. And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall march ahead. We cannot turn back.”

          “Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood.”

          “In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds”

          When we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: “Free at last! Free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”

          Hugs, Gronda

          Liked by 1 person

        • “You cannot support Russia and Putin and call yourself an American.”

          Gronda, it’s a brave new world. Just ask any conservative/ alt-right Trump supporter, yes they drank the anti-establishment cool-aid, apparently supporting Russia and Putin is being patriotic against the liberal left! LOL!!

          Like

        • @ Xena,

          Sorry, my mistake. I didn’t realize charges were filed already against Butina. When you mentioned indictments from your previous comment above, I’d just assume you were referring to the 12 GRU agents. In which case, you are correct to a certain extent. I only mention that the “net effect” of these GRU indictments seem worthless b/c both sides know this would never go to trial, these charges seem disingenuous (solely for public show). Xena, do you honestly believe the Russian gov’t would voluntarily turn over their agents b/c the US decide to indict? Perhaps that’s something Trump would do without a second thought, LOL. Putin- never.

          I believe you that our IC is not making this up, that’s why we assigned a Special Council to investigate. I’m sure SC Mueller will use these indictments as part of his comprehensive investigation.

          Actually, I am American, born and bred. 🙂 But I’m also a free thinker, not beholden to any political party, religious beliefs, fixed ideologies, labels, or loyalty to any gov’t. I consider myself a sovereign individual, open minded, fair, non judgmental, inclusive; I’m also for justice and peace.

          As for Trump, I’m ambivalent, but would really prefer him not to be president anymore. His self serving agenda is not good for this country, or anybody for that matter.

          Thanks for clarifying the process/ purpose of US indictments. But I’ll stick with my rationale (for now), that these 12 indictments are rather meaningless at this point in time. We’ll see how it all pans out in the near future.

          Like

        • 1EarthUnited,
          Re:

          “Sorry, my mistake. I didn’t realize charges were filed already against Butina. When you mentioned indictments from your previous comment above, I’d just assume you were referring to the 12 GRU agents.”

          Gronda titled this blog post “How Is Maria Butina Tied To Russian Monies Being Funneled To NRA”. Of course charges were filed against Butina. That is why she came for a bail hearing where arguments from both sides were heard and considered before remanding her without bail. Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov has been beating the drum calling the “charges fabricated”.

          I’m sorry but I am not familiar with what “IC” means.

          Regarding your comment about Trump having a “self serving agenda,” it’s my impression that is what Putin suspects because he wanted Trump to dedicated himself with an agenda that includes Russia even when it doesn’t serve him; i.e., Russia.

          Yes, the United States is a country where you are free to be all the things you say you are and more. The freedoms however, come with some sort of belief. For example, you say that you are for justice and peace. So are many others, and that applies to those who live in other countries with governments that are not structured like the U.S. government. Personally, I understand justice and peace in my personal life according to the teachings of Christ. That means to me that the NRA is contrary to what I believe. I believe in justice and peace for myself and others according to the rights and privileges of the constitution. That means that I must respect the 2nd Amendment rights of others. My hope is that others respect the constitutional rights of everyone and if they did, there would be justice.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Hi Gronda, thanks for sharing your wonderfully endearing story. It goes to prove that ppl actually have more in common than perceived differences. The “great cultural divide” is real, from societal propaganda, prejudice, hatred, ignorance – do tend to influence us if we allow it. What dispel illusions are communication, understanding, love in one’s heart for our fellow man, forgiveness.

          The majority of ppl are decent, hard working, want to make the world a better place for all. But we must also be diligent against the ones who want to sow discord, to turn us against one another. Remember, MLK and Malcolm X were assassinated b/c there is always a small faction who does not want peace, love and unity in the world. They are the ones who profit from perpetual wars, militarizing our police, manipulating the press to incite anger and violence. In a way, employing the Hegelian Dialectic – create the problem, incite reaction, offer solution. Keeping humanity in perpetual bondage by polarizing every issue to keep mankind separated and weak.

          As humanity’s consciousness grows, these ploys will no longer work. That exciting time is now, we are all awakening and working towards a better future, as our eyes will no longer be blinded by ignorance, fear and hatred. It’s certainly an exciting time to be alive, sharing our ideas and truths.

          Thanks again for all you do Gronda, you offer a blogging sanctuary to all who wish to express and views without judgment, learning and growing to be better. What more can we ask for? THANK YOU!!! ❤

          Like

        • @ Xena,

          Thanks for your clarifications regarding Ms Butina, I have finally read the charges against her and they make sense, according to her past history and interactions with high level officials and members of the NRA. It seems she has a lot of explaining to do!

          — “I’m sorry but I am not familiar with what “IC” means.”

          “IC” is an acronym for Intelligence Community: FBI, CIA, DHS, NSA… what we termed alphabet agencies.

          I totally agree with you that society’s freedoms are predicated upon mutual respect of each other’s rights, whether we agree with them or not.

          Great quote from Evelyn Beatrice Hall, “I wholly disapprove of what you say—and will defend to the death your right to say it.”

          I also love your quote!
          “My hope is that others respect the constitutional rights of everyone and if they did, there would be justice.”

          Enjoy your day! 🙂

          Like

    • Dear 1EarthUnited,

      It seems you get the picture. The US judicial system is keeping Maria Butina only because they still need to question her without her being whisked away out of the country, first. If she is held for longer than a month, then it means she was actively involved in the funneling of monies with others to the NRA with the intent to influence the outcome of the 2016 US presidential elections. In short, it would indicate that she was more than a good ambassador for Russia.

      This is the FBI case of the century. Those involved in this investigation are the best of the best that exist in this line of business. They didn’t recently hire more help because they are not developing a case. There is a reason, those in the FBI and the US Department of Justice leadership roles are revealing more information than usual to the public.

      Let’s see what they are able to accomplish.

      Hugs, Gronda

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Dear 1EarthUnited,

    In response to : “You cannot support Russia and Putin and call yourself an American.”

    Gronda, it’s a brave new world. Just ask any conservative/ alt-right Trump supporter, yes they drank the anti-establishment cool-aid, apparently supporting Russia and Putin is being patriotic against the liberal left! LOL!

    I have done just that. The good news is that the right wingers that I know are now on the same page. Presidents Trump and Putin at their Helsinki summit accomplished what I had not been able to do over several months.

    Hugs, Gronda

    Like

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