BUGS BUNNY, A VAST IMPROVEMENT OVER THE JACKASS-N-CHIEF WE HAVE NOW…JUST SAYIN’…
SERIOUSLY though, this article is 99.99% the work of Twitter Patriot, Legal expert, Thorough researcher, and Genuine investigative reporter, SETH ABRAMS…let’s commence, shall we?
GOING TO POST THE ENTIRE THREAD FROM TWITTER PATRIOT EXTRAORDINAIRE, SETH ABRAMS.
(THREAD) MAJOR BREAKING NEWS (CNN): Convicted Kremlin agent Maria Butina’s longtime boyfriend confirms that Don Jr. met secretly with Kremlin agents for an hour during the 2015 NRA Conference in Knoxville; Don Jr. therefore lied to Congress about collusion. Please RT and read on.
1/ This story is still developing—and confusing enough that only those who’ve researched the Trump-Russia case for years understood its import when it first broke; many others are currently misreporting it, [MY NOTES: LIKE FOX]. I’m going to do my best to get this 100% right for you—as it’s huge news.
2/ SUMMARY: All agree Butina was a Kremlin agent working for a Kremlin official—Torshin; all agree she used sex to access targets; all agree she infiltrated the NRA and aimed to infiltrate Team Trump; all agree her job was to end sanctions. We *didn’t* know Jr. met with her team.
3/ BACKGROUND (all taken from PROOF OF CONSPIRACY, the Mueller Report, and major-media sources): in early 2015, the future top Trump adviser on Russia, Dmitri Simes, met with Putin; thereafter, he helped Alexander Torshin and Butina gain access to top federal banking officials.
4/ Torshin and Butina wanted access to banking officials as part of what is now confirmed as a Russian intelligence operation aimed at—among other things—gaining confidential data about the Ziff Brothers, whose Clinton donations the Kremlin thought could be used against Hillary.
5/ During the period Simes—the former top Trump adviser on Russia who now makes $500,000/year working for the Kremlin’s TV network, RT—was aiding Torshin/Butina, he was trying to Torshin’s aid for the top funder of his pro-Kremlin think tank, the Center for the National Interest.
6/ Filings in the Butina case confirm that—in early 2015—Butina/Torshin aimed to infiltrate the NRA and, if possible, Trump’s campaign. Butina’s ex-boyfriend, Patrick Byrne, has now confirmed Butina *spoke* of infiltrating four campaigns, but in fact only focused on one: Trump’s.
7/ We don’t know exactly who puts the FBI onto Russia’s activities—though to be clear both the hacking and propaganda operations run by the Kremlin in 2016 had *already begun* by Spring 2015. We also know the FBI was investigating George Papadopoulos as a possible Israeli agent.
8/ Given that it later prosecuted Butina, made Torshin an unindicted co-conspirator, got warrants on Papadopoulos, and turned Simes into the shocking “star” of Volume 1 of the Mueller Report, there’s a reasonable chance—but we don’t know—that the FBI was long tracking all four.
9/ The upshot to this part of the story is this: FBI agent Peter Strzok was running an FBI probe in early 2015 that believed—it turns out, 100% correctly—that Kremlin agents under Putin’s control sought to infiltrate Trump’s 2016 campaign. Tonight we got *major* new news on this.
10/ Butina’s ex-boyfriend—businessman Patrick Byrne—tonight *confirmed* to CNN that Butina said she had “close ties” to “four of the top seven oligarchs in Russia” and that she was in a position to orchestrate him (Byrne) meeting *one-on-one with Putin himself*. This is 100% new.
11/ Byrne further *confirms* to CNN that Butina said she was working for Torshin, a Kremlin official, and that she’d been tasked with infiltrating Trump’s campaign. She said the purpose was “peace”—which is the term the Kremlin uses (systematically) to refer to sanctions relief.
12/ We’ve long known that at the spring 2015 NRA Conference in Knoxville, Donald Trump Jr. made contact with Torshin; both men claimed that they randomly found themselves near one another and spoke only briefly of inconsequential things—and that’s what Don Jr. told Congress, too.
13/ We don’t know Torshin’s full story—as he fled to Russia. Likewise, we don’t know Simes’s full story—as he took a job for the Kremlin in Moscow. But in my 2018 book PROOF OF COLLUSION, I wrote of a major-media story that hinted Don Jr. *might* have been lying about Knoxville.
14/ CORRECTION: I mean Nashville, Tennessee, not Knoxville, Tennessee. My sister went to University of Tennessee in Knoxville, so it’s more on my brain than it is with most people. Wherever I wrote Knoxville above, I’m speaking of Nashville. OK, to continue with this major story:
15/ PROOF OF COLLUSION offered major-media reporting that a) Torshin’s meeting with Don Jr. wasn’t accidental; b) they discussed more than pleasantries; c) Torshin had been tasked to get Don Jr. to come with him to a second location for a secret meeting. That’s what I had *then*.
16/ According to Byrne, Butina told him that—at a time when she was connected to “four of the top seven oligarchs in Russia” and could orchestrate *face-to-face meetings with Putin*—she and Torshin successfully got Don Jr. to go to a second location for a one-hour secret meeting.
17/ This secret meeting in Nashville took place in April 2015, per Butina, just 60 days before Trump announced his presidential run. At *any* meeting between Torshin, Butina, Trump Jr., and other Kremlin agents, the topic Torshin and Butina were assigned to discuss was sanctions.
18/ By 30 days after Trump announced his run in June 2015, he *still* had not made a major official declaration of his policy on Russia sanctions. Then he went to FreedomFest in Las Vegas in July 2015. Butina was there and Byrne was there. Butina was posing as a young journalist.
19/ The event was televised, so any statement by Trump was certain to be seen by Putin and other leaders. Butina, posing as a journalist, asked Trump to state his position on sanctions. Trump—whose son had apparently secretly met with Butina and her boss—said he wanted them gone.
20/ It was at the 2015 Las Vegas event that Butina first approached Byrne; at the time she was in a relationship with GOP operative Paul Erickson, who’s since been indicted on multiple charges. Butina, the Kremlin agent, seduced Byrne, and they soon began a romantic relationship.
21/ Byrne is unclear on whether he contacted the FBI about Butina before or after their romantic relationship began. In any case, Byrne is clear he *wasn’t* acting as an FBI CI in Las Vegas; he was there as a *speaker*, but had worked with the FBI previously on unrelated matters.
22/ In any case, Butina’s conduct in trying to recruit Byrne is so suspicious that he alerts the FBI because he has prior—unrelated—contacts in the organization. The FBI, which has already—it turns out, 100% correctly—begun investigating Butina, asks Byrne to continue to see her.
23/ Byrne now says federal officials have told him that the order for him to keep seeing Butina came from Peter Strzok, James Comey and one other person—which would make sense, given that these are the men who were heading up the Russian election-interference probe at that point.
24/ In the months after Butina—following a meeting with Trump Jr.—gets Trump to oppose sanctions on TV, Butina so infiltrates the NRA that she’s able to arrange a trip by the NRA’s top brass to Moscow to meet Putin at the same time Trump adviser Flynn is in Moscow to meet Putin.
25/ Just over a year after meeting with Putin—who has called Simes a “friend”—and during a period he’s still in contact with Torshin and Butina, Simes manages to insinuate himself into the Trump Camp during a March ’16 Center for the National Interest event that Jared Kushner attends.
6/ Thereafter, Simes becomes the “Russia whisperer” of the Trump campaign—involving himself in every major Russia-related foreign policy event and policy paper Trump’s campaign constructs between March and November 2016. Shortly after Butina is arrested, Simes *flees to Moscow*.
27/ Don Jr. testifies to Congress that he had no significant contacts with Torshin. But media reports suggest that not only—if Butina’s claims are true—did Don Jr. meet with Torshin, but *so did Trump himself*. Torshin ultimately tweets out that he met Trump at an NRA conference.
28/ Live television, folks. Going to correct one or two things that don’t change the story but more properly align events and dates.
29/ In late 2015, Alexander Torshin claimed on Twitter that he knew Trump from the NRA and could speak to his character. Torshin and Trump both attended the April 2015 NRA Conference in Nashville, so the assumption has been that they met at that time.
Russian politician claims he knows Trump through NRA connections: report
30/ The secret Torshin/Trump Jr. meeting occurred, per Butina’s statements to Byrne, at *either* the Nashville NRA Conference in spring 2015 *or* the Louisville NRA Conference in spring 2016 *or* both. Byrne, in speaking to CNN, was not clear on this. But Byrne has corroboration.
31/ We already know that prosecutors investigating Torshin abroad have intimated that Trump Jr. is lying about his contacts with Torshin, which (as I wrote in PROOF OF COLLUSION) is further suggested by Trump Jr.’s lies about the meeting and Torshin’s plans for an off-site event.
2/ Here’s the 2018 YAHOO NEWS article (from Michael Isikoff, the author—with David Corn—of the New York Times bestseller RUSSIAN ROULETTE) about wiretaps that apparently incriminate Trump Jr. with respect to him lying to Congress about Alexander Torshin:
‘Trump’s Son Should Be Concerned’: FBI Obtained Wiretaps Of Putin Ally Who Met With Trump Jr.
33/ Earlier in the thread, I indicated that we *knew* Patrick Byrne was saying the Trump Jr.-Butina-Torshin meeting happened in 2015; reviewing his interview, it’s more accurate to say that he indicates the meeting could have occurred in 2015 in Nashville *or* 2016 in Louisville.
34/ By the way, between those two events Torshin tweeted this:
35/ It’s *marginally* more likely the secret Trump Jr.-Butina-Torshin meeting happened in 2016 in Louisville, as we *know* the two men interacted at that event. But that said, it seems Torshin and Trump Sr. interacted in 2015 in Nashville—and *we know Trump Jr. was in Nashville*.
36/ We know Trump Jr. was in Nashville in 2015 because his father said so during his speech:
The Making of Donald Trump and the NRA’s Marriage of Convenience
How a potent odd couple came together, in 14 steps.
37/ NOTE: I’m going to say something now that I can’t believe I’m going to say… but the next tweet is really one that *everyone* needs to read *carefully* and understand because it could point toward the most important revelation in the entire Trump-Russia investigation so far.
8/ 1) Trump and Don Jr. were both in Nashville and both in Louisville.
2) Torshin—by 7 months after Nashville—says he knows Trump via the NRA.
3) Butina says Don Jr. attended a secret meeting with Torshin in either Nashville or Louisville.
4) Why wouldn’t *Trump* have gone too?
39/ 5) SCENARIO #1: If Kremlin agent Torshin met Trump in Nashville in 2015 as he implies—and if the secret meeting was in Nashville—why would Don Jr. have gone in his father’s place, and how would Torshin be able to say he met *Trump* if *Trump* didn’t also attend that meeting?
40/ 6) SCENARIO #2: If Butina is saying the secret Torshin-Don Jr. meeting was in *Louisville*, that’s months *after* Torshin says he already knows Trump—and media reports say Torshin wanted to see Trump in Louisville. So why wouldn’t Trump have attended *that* secret meeting?
41/ In any case, what we have now is Don Jr. meeting secretly with Kremlin agent Torshin in—most likely—Louisville in spring ’16, and later lying about it to Congress. Torshin is—at the time—apparently connected to an op looking to get dirt on Clinton involving the Ziff Brothers.
42/ When Jr. gets contacted a few weeks later—in early June—and learns the Kremlin has dirt on Clinton it wants to give him, guess what the dirt is about? As confirmed by US media’s publication of the Kremlin talking points for that meeting, the info involves…the Ziff Brothers.
43/ Trump and Don Jr. thereafter lie about the meeting in which Jr. learned of the HRC “dirt” Torshin had been connecting to uncovering. And they *also* lie about the *other* topic of that June 2016 meeting: the “peace” Butina was working for, that is to say… sanctions relief.
44/ SUMMARY: So there’s now a clear throughline establishing a Kremlin operation involving Putin, his top four oligarchs, Butina, Torshin and Simes—one that involves infiltrating the Trump campaign through the NRA and specifically Don Jr. Both Don and his dad then lied about it.
45/ To me, the craziest part of all this is that when it hit media this evening, those who picked it up didn’t know enough about the Trump-Russia timeline to know what they were hearing. So they fell into a trap laid by the far-right “journalist” who spoke to Byrne—Sara Carter.
46/ Carter falsely claims the *real* story here is… the FBI asking Byrne to keep seeing Butina. I’ve no idea why that’d be a story, or why it’d be a story if—as Byrne says—Strzok and Comey issued that order. They were…*investigating Russia*. Of *course* they issued the order.
47/ The three Russian election-interference campaigns—hacking, propaganda, and infiltration—began in 2014 and 2015. It was always my assumption—it should’ve been everyone’s—that the best intelligence agencies in the world (ours) were on to the Russians’ activities not long after.
48/ That’s why, when the story came out that Mueller was looking into Papadopoulos’ overseas activities *before* he approached the Trump campaign the first time—in summer *2015*—it made sense: because the multinational collusion(s) PROOF OF CONSPIRACY details had started by then.
49/ I won’t rehash the whole Red Sea Conspiracy here—as that’s what PROOF OF CONSPIRACY will do when it’s published September 3. Suffice to say that activities in Israel, Russia, and the UAE in *2014* communicated to U.S. intelligence that a strange new alliance was being formed.
55/ The result of all this is media is reporting the biggest breakthrough in the Trump-Russia investigation so far as though it confirms some sort of “deep-state” conspiracy—rather than just that Byrne isn’t happy about what he was asked to do now that he knows Strzok ordered it.
56/ As we’ve seen, Byrne’s revelations in fact have nothing to do with Strzok; rather, they’re about: (1) Donald Trump Jr.’s secret meetings and lies to Congress, (2) Maria Butina’s much-higher-than-known level of access to Putin and his oligarchs, and (3) the Trump-Torshin link.
57/ Here’s what absolutely has to happen now:
(1) Byrne has to be called before Congress.
(2) Donald Trump Jr. has to be called back before Congress.
(3) Trump has to be asked about every meeting he ever had with Alex Torshin, Maria Butina, or any agents of either Kremlin agent.
58/ And: (4) Media must clean up its reporting from tonight. Byrne is offering *no evidence* he was used for “political espionage”; he’s merely angry at Strzok—and therefore upset that Strzok apparently urged him to keep seeing Butina. His story is important for *other* reasons.
59/ But I also want underscore that Patrick Byrne’s story isn’t *legible* to anyone who hasn’t been researching the Trump-Russia case for years. I’ve been doing that—and have written two books on the subject—and even *I* had to listen hard to understand what Byrne was revealing.
60/ I don’t say that to be self-aggrandizing; I believe that *anyone* who fully understands the timeline and players in the Trump-Russia case would see and can confirm all I’ve said—so I’m not special for having “figured something out.” I’m just explaining why US media missed it.
61/ As for Carter, I don’t know why she misrepresented this. There’s an obvious potential reason—a political agenda—and a less-obvious reason: that some on the right are trying to “launder” bad information for Trump by reframing it falsely. But I don’t know if that happened here.
62/ It must be underscored that Byrne is a problematic witness—just not in a way that would necessarily undercut *this* story [i.e., in the way it’s important]. He clearly still has feelings for Butina; he deeply admires her; he even thinks that she should be President of Russia.
63/ Byrne’s story is significant exclusively because of statements his girlfriend made to him at a time those statements were either (1) against her interest, or (2) corroborated subsequently by other means. Let me explain what I mean by that, as it’s important.
64/ Federal filings confirm that Torshin and Butina were running an intelligence op to infiltrate the NRA and Trump’s campaign.
65/ It would have been *entirely detrimental to that intelligence op* for either of the two Kremlin agents to falsely claim to have had contact with anyone in the Trump family.
66/ Doing so would risk arousing the ire of their marks and diminishing their credibility and therefore potentially compromising their entire operation. So there are indicia of reliability in what Butina said to Byrne about Trump Jr. It’s also consistent with major media reports.
67/ Those news reports place the relevant parties at the relevant locations and with the stated intent to establish communications. We even had prior reporting that Torshin wanted an off-site meeting with Trump Jr. and that wiretaps would prove Trump Jr. lied about what happened.
68/ It’s clear Byrne believed his story was helping Butina *and moreover* it is clear from Carter’s reporting and Byrne’s CNN interview that Butina’s *U.S. lawyers* also thought so. So there’s no sense *anyone* here realized this would actually sink Butina, or wanted that result.
69/ One would have to be an idiot to hear or see the interview Patrick Byrne gave with CNN and *not* wonder about his reliability. The problem is that media reports also say that the FBI believed his story and, again, the relevant parts aren’t really touched by Byrne’s weirdness.
70/ And of course I’m leaving out entire swaths of corroboration for the sake of brevity. For instance, we already know that Donald Trump Jr. has lied under oath about these *very matters* (and others), and that Torshin and Simes both fled the country *when Butina was arrested*.
71/ The boasts Butina made about her extraordinarily well-placed Kremlin contacts were *confirmed* when she invited to Moscow, and then hosted in Moscow, top NRA brass, who were then ushered into meetings with top Kremlin officials. So she wasn’t lying to Byrne about any of that.
72/ I could go on (for instance regarding the telling synchronicity of Flynn being in Moscow while Butina was hosting the NRA brass, as we know what Flynn was in Moscow to do and who he was there to meet with) but the broader point is that weird people *aren’t* necessarily liars.
73/ I can readily understand, given the foregoing, why DOJ (presumably attorneys with the IG) believed Byrne. The question is whether they *only* looked at the Strzok angle, because that’s the only thing *they* are tasked with looking at right now. Mueller is [prematurely] gone.
74/ When Bob Mueller, to the shock of everyone except (oddly) the husband of Trump’s communications director, closed up shop almost immediately after Trump’s handpicked AG, Bill Barr, was confirmed, I was one of those saying, “What happens if new info comes out? Who handles it?”
75/ The one thing Carter may have gotten *right*, albeit inadvertently, is that at present the entirely silly and unimportant Strzok angle *is* the only one being looked at, because Byrne chose to go to DOJ, and therefore the IG looking at *just* that narrow (GOP-invented) issue.
76/ That Peter Strzok’s work was reviewed and found professional doesn’t matter to the conspiracy theorists obsessed with him. And when he *chose* to sue the FBI, thereby *opening himself up to questioning under oath*, even *then* they didn’t say, “Huh! Maybe this guy is clean?”
77/ But none of that solves the current problem: with Mueller having prematurely wrapped up his work (for whatever reason), there’s no one to publicly interview and publicly report on an interview with Byrne unless Congress does it or we see the FBI’s counterintelligence reports.
78/ As to the question asked—see below in the feed—by Maya Wiley about how Byrne could’ve had counterintelligence information about Butina that didn’t make it into Mueller’s report, that’s precisely the evidence Mueller said he left out (leaving out Butina/Torshin particularly).
79/ Just so, the probe Mueller did isn’t synonymous with the probe *Strzok* did—as Strzok and Comey were investigating Russian election interference well over a *year* before Mueller was appointed and chose to employ the former of the two (with good reason, given his prior role).
80/ Ever since the Mueller Report dropped and we learned—on p. 10 of Volume 1—that *all counterintelligence evidence* had been removed from the report with few if any exceptions, I’ve been saying that (as it turns out) on *collusion* we still haven’t seen the report that matters.
81/ You’ll never hear me say that about Vol. 2 of the Report; that’s as comprehensive as we’re going to get—accepting that (a) Mueller said he didn’t relay *every* relevant instance of potential obstruction but just 10 selected ones, and (b) more obstruction happened post-Report.
82/ But on “collusion”—meaning, every federal crime that has as a constituent part what a layperson would call collusive activity—Mueller only considered if Trump was part of a before-the-fact conspiracy with two entities: the GRU or IRA. That’s not what we’re talking about here.
83/ Indeed while much of the evidence—proof pointing toward a single conclusion, whether or not sufficient for conviction—I compiled in PROOF OF COLLUSION overlapped with what appeared in the Mueller Report 5 months later, even PROOF OF COLLUSION didn’t look at *that* conspiracy.
84/ Nor does my upcoming book—PROOF OF CONSPIRACY—consider any before-the-fact GRU or IRA conspiracy. Indeed, it doesn’t even focus on a quid pro quo, but rather “aiding and abetting” an existing conspiracy that was entered into overseas by the leaders of several foreign nations.
85/ So Byrne’s evidence a) is actually new, b) has indicia of reliability, (c) implicates Trump’s family in collusion, (d) must now be the subject of new House hearings, and e) isn’t evidence we would’ve expected to hear earlier—as it’s in an intelligence report we’ve never seen.
CONCLUSION/ I wrote such a long thread because this is *confusing* stuff—not because it’s fictional, but for the opposite reason: real crimes (at this level and implicating these particular statutes) are messy, confusing, and have many moving parts. It’s hard to summarize things.
NOTE/ I’ll stay on top of all this; I’m not pretending it’s fully unfolded. We must hear more from Byrne—though we’ve already heard enough for Congress to hold hearings at which Don Jr. and Byrne are asked about a secret 1-hour meeting with Kremlin agents in Nashville/Louisville.
NOTE2/ But I’ll also return to the most harrowing part of this thread: the possibility—as there’s evidence pointing this way—*Trump himself* attended, knew about in advance, or knew of after the fact a meeting between his son and Kremlin agents at an NRA conference in 2015/2016.
NOTE3/ Apologies again for the Knoxville/Nashville typo—addressed in Tweet 14—plaguing tweets 0, 12, and 13 due to my affinity for/ties to Knoxville (see Tweet 14). Note also the clarification that the NRA conference could’ve been either 2015’s or 2016’s. It’s damning either way.
NOTE4/ PROOF OF COLLUSION (Nov. ’18) and PROOF OF CONSPIRACY (Sept. ’19) both have literally thousands of citations, so please understand that this thread doesn’t even graze the surface of the news items we have on these topics. They even get this obscure:
Nashville lawyer who introduced Russian operative to the NRA has ties to Blackburn
NOTE5/ I think most reading this know this, but in the event you don’t, the CNN report referred to in the first tweet in this thread is the interview that
conducted with Patrick Byrne on the former’s hour-long CNN program tonight. Byrne also (previously) spoke to FNC.
VIDEO/ Feel free to watch Byrne’s odd interview with FNC, in which he reveals the third person his orders came from—per his undisclosed sources—was McCabe. You’ll also see that he’s framing his story in a way that has nothing to do with why it’s important.
VIDEO2/ Here’s the CNN interview referenced in my first tweet. It’s odd—again—but remember everyone agrees he had a relationship with Butina, the DOJ does believe he did work with the FBI involving Butina, and there’s significant other media corroboration.
VIDEO3/ The FNC video is *must-watch TV* for reasons no one at FNC seems to realize: Byrne says—quite clearly—that the moment the intel he was feeding the FBI indicated Butina was going to infiltrate *Trump’s* campaign rather than *Clinton’s*, “their interest went to zero.” WTF?
VIDEO4/ If Byrne’s FNC story is accurate—and his CNN interview echoes it on this point—he’s saying Strzok, McCabe, and Comey were investigating *Hillary’s emails* when he first came to them, and only *later* agreed to work with him because by then they were investigating Russia.
VIDEO5/ In other words, Byrne’s saying the FBI was *so focused on Clinton* and so focused on *doing their jobs* they almost let his shocking intel about the Trump family slip through their fingers. It was only *new* intel they got that made them want to work with Byrne on Russia.
ADDITIONAL PATRICK BYRNE INTERVIEW/ Below I’ve done a brief thread (just 10 tweets!) on the interview Seth Hettena (
) did with Patrick Byrne on August 18. There’s still much to process from that interview, but I’ve at least made a start, here:
In this interview with Seth Hettena, who acknowledges Byrne’s oddness as I do, Byrne confirms that he told the FBI about Butina in July of 2015; they ignored him because they were working on the Clinton case; and in July *2016* they began paying attention.
The CEO of Overstock Has More to Say about Maria Butina, the FBI … and Don Jr
ADDITIONAL THREAD/ I’ve now done a sort of “after-action report” following up on the events of yesterday (Thursday, August 22), specifically by trying to separate fact from fiction in the fallout to Byrne’s explosive claims. You can find that thread below:
(THREAD) It’s time to separate fact from fiction in the case of Patrick Byrne, Maria Butina, Trump Jr. and a cadre of FBI agents and leaders. This is a still-developing story—but problematic reporting and Byrne’s bad framing are muddling events. I hope you’ll read on and retweet.
CLAIM1/ Byrne was “directed” to sleep with Butina by the FBI (CNN).
False. The FBI not only had no authority to “direct” Byrne, but Byrne himself says that he was clearly told that he didn’t have to do anything. The FBI asked if he was willing to do something and he said he was.
CLAIM2/ Byrne’s activities were coordinated by Strzok, McCabe, and Comey (Byrne). Unclear. Byrne keeps changing his story—at one point saying “federal authorities” told him this was so, at another point saying he figured it out from TV, at another point implying he/Strzok spoke.
CLAIM3/ Byrne isn’t credible (many folks).
Unclear. We know he/Butina had a relationship; we know he’d worked with the FBI before; we know—if true—FBI records will confirm his story; we know DOJ found some of his story credible. It’s his odd demeanor convincing people otherwise.
CLAIM4/ There was no “second meeting” between Don Jr. and Kremlin agents Butina/Torshin; Don and Torshin had only a chance May 2016 encounter in Louisville. False—apparently. In other words, it *does* appear there was such a meeting. This one will take a few tweets to unwrap.
CLAIM 4-2/ According to Don Jr. and Torshin, all that happened is that they—by chance—were sitting near each other at an NRA dinner and they briefly exchanged inconsequential pleasantries. This bears no relationship/similarity to any meeting Butina has ever told any person about.
CLAIM 4-3/ What Butina told Byrne is that at 2PM on one of the days of the May 2016 Louisville NRA Conference, Butina and her team planned to take Trump Jr. out the back door of his hotel and bring him to her—Butina’s—hotel for a 1-hour meeting. The meeting was to be clandestine.
CLAIM 4-4/ Moreover, unlike the story Torshin and Trump Jr. later told—Torshin, who subsequently fled the country; Trump Jr., who subsequently lied to Congress on this and other matters—Butina was, per Butina, slated to be *present* at the meeting between Torshin and Trump’s son.
CLAIM 4-5/ Byrne is *unwavering* in saying Butina told him this was her plan, and *unwavering* in saying it was his understanding the meeting *did* happen (leading to his *anger* that the FBI had “let it happen”). When Butina *told* him the meeting had occurred is still in doubt.
CLAIM 4-6/ Byrne says he stopped seeing Butina in April 2016, so they weren’t together (or in communication) at the time the planned May 2016 meeting would’ve occurred. But he reconnected with her after July 2016, and now says the meeting occurred, so she must have told him then.
CLAIM 4-7/ Butina’s attorneys are now saying there was no second meeting; as ever, statements made by paid advocates for a Kremlin agent who knows it would be an international scandal if it was revealed that she and others secretly met with Trump Jr. can be and must be *ignored*.
CLAIM 4-8/ Much more reliable are statements made against her own interest—because she was revealing sensitive operational details of a Kremlin operation—Butina made to Byrne in the context of a) a romantic relationship, b) trying to establish a trusting relationship with a mark.
CLAIM 4-9/ Of course, far more reliable than *that* is corroborating evidence: Don Jr., Butina, and Torshin were in the place Butina says they were on the date in question; Don Jr. and Torshin admit to contact; we know from other reporting that Torshin wanted a “second meeting.”
CLAIM 4-10/ We know Torshin is under criminal investigation in multiple jurisdictions and was Butina’s handler in a course of conduct in which Butina was a covert agent of influence; we know he’s fled; we know he took numerous actions to secretly liaison with Trump team members.
CLAIM 5/ Byrne’s story is “crazy” (Jim Comey).
First, we *have* to note that the *whole Trump-Russia story* as we now know it—while 100% true, per Mueller—sounds crazy when you first hear it. But Comey isn’t actually, making a *blanket* denial of Byrne’s highly unusual claims.
CLAIM 5-1/ It appears what Comey is denying is that *he* oversaw FBI agents’ contacts with Byrne—or that *he* in any way directed Byrne to have a relationship with Butina. It’s entirely possible for both Comey and Byrne to be right—as Byrne seems to be guessing about some things.
CLAIM 5-2/ Not only did Byrne *only* have contact with field agents—it *doesn’t* appear he had contact with FBI leadership—when you actually listen to the facts of his story, rather than his own misguided framing, it’s not clear… well… what the field agents *asked* him to do.
CLAIM 5-3/ From July ’15 to July ’16, Byrne was voluntarily in a relationship with Butina that he voluntarily reported on to FBI field agents. He says when he asked the agents to greenlight the relationship they did—but they were just declining to force him to end a relationship.
CLAIM 5-4/ It *would’ve* been a scandal if agents *had* told Byrne to end the relationship in late 2015—as it would suggest they saw Butina as dangerous *but* weren’t willing to investigate her further. *And* they’d be interceding in Byrne’s situation in a way they’d have to own.
CLAIM 5-5/ So the supposed “greenlight” appears to be FBI agents saying, yeah, you can keep us informed if you like, in the event anything untoward happens, but we’re not going to stand in the way of your romantic relationship. That appears to be all that happened at that point.
CLAIM 5-6/ What Byrne is *angry* about is that he then kept feeding the FBI agents information—which presumably they memorialized—but that they didn’t take any action, which frankly is *exactly* the same reaction Christopher Steele encountered, and actually looks bad for *Trump*.
CLAIM 5-7/ Trump and his allies’ conspiracy theory is that there was a massive FBI conspiracy to destroy him—but only if he won the presidency, which they took no action to prevent; follow *that* logic—but Byrne/Steele both suggest the FBI *ignored* evidence of Trump-Russia ties.
CLAIM 5-8/ Coupled with the FBI *lying to the New York Times* in the days before the election about what they knew of Trump-Russia ties, what we’re seeing is a *consistent* pattern of the FBI *hiding* what it knows about Trump and Russia rather than weaponizing it in any fashion.
CLAIM 5-9/ Even so, nothing in Byrne’s story is even arguably “crazy”—to go back to Comey’s claim—until July 2016, when the FBI, inspired by other evidence of Trump-Russia ties, asks Byrne if he’s *willing* to not just continue his relationship but continue having it be romantic.
CLAIM 5-10/ But here’s the thing: Byrne was already in the relationship—which is confirmed. It’d previously been romantic—which is confirmed. So in what way was the FBI even asking Byrne to do something he wasn’t already doing? It’s unclear. I think there’s an easier explanation:
CLAIM 5-11/ The easier explanation is that in July 2016 the agents communicating with Byrne told him that—in fact—Butina *was* potentially a danger to the US, at which point—presumably—Byrne would’ve wanted to break things off. The FBI simply asked him to consider not doing that.
CLAIM 5-12/ And that is, I think, the sum total of the far-less-interesting “Strzok-McCabe-Comey” part of the story—Byrne is offended that the FBI even *asked* him to continue seeing Maria Butina after the FBI informed him it was, in fact, worried that she was a foreign agent.
CLAIM 5-13/ But the fact is, the FBI request for Byrne to consider continuing to see Butina came in *July 2016* if it came at all: at a time when—as Byrne says the FBI told him—they were dealing with an extraordinary national security situation. It was *not* some concocted plot.
CLAIM 5-14/ I think, therefore, that Comey can be *correct* that Byrne’s framing of events is “crazy” even as his response doesn’t do anything to contradict the core facts: the Byrne-Butina relationship; Byrne-FBI contact; Butina’s claims—to Byrne—that she and Torshin met Don Jr.
CLAIM 6/ AG Barr intercepted Byrne’s evidence, even though it should have gone to the DOJ’s IG—Horowitz—and Barr should’ve had nothing to do with it.
Unclear. Byrne says that Barr knows the entirety of his (Byrne’s) story, but it’s not clear if he’s presuming that or knows that.
IF ALL THIS WAS NOT ENOUGH TO CONVINCE YOU OF:
- THE DANGER AMERICA IS IN
- THE DANGER THE WORLD IS IN
- THAT THERE IS NO POLITICAL ANSWER…
THEN MAYBE THIS WILL HELP:
THE LORD JESUS CHRIST. PERIOD.
-Rev. Larry Wallenmeyer.