These are the key witnesses the GOP wouldn’t allow Dems to question for Russia investigation — including NRA officials
Maria Butina was not the only person that Republicans wouldn’t allow Democrats to subpoena or question for the House investigation into the Russia hack of the 2016 election.
Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL) divulged Tuesday that Butina was on the list of those Democrats wanted to question.
“The Republicans refused to allow her to come testify,” Quigley told CNN’s Don Lemon. “They refused multiple — I would say there’s probably 30 other key witnesses like her that they refused to bring before the committee.”
The list of those other witnesses and the reasons for calling them was sent to Raw Story, revealing Butina was not the only Russian with ties to the NRA that is concerning.
According to the 21-page request from March 2018, Democrats asked to interview typical political staff that were present or on staff when conversations may have happened. But a few names have ties to the National Rifle Association and might have had reason to work with Butina.
Cleta Mitchell is one person the members requested, since she has been the law firm that conducts work for the NRA. The Democratic committee members wondered if Mitchell could “clarify for the Committee any Russian-related approaches to and interaction with the organization and persons of interest to the Committee during the 2016 election.”
Paul Erickson emailed Trump campaign officials during the 2016 campaign, saying that Russia was “seeking a dialogue with the U.S.” and would use the NRA’s annual convention that year to make “first contact.” It’s unknown if Butina was the one who made that contact.
“Mr. Erickson may be able to provide insight into reported Russian-directed efforts throughout and possibly prior to 2016 to approach U.S. organizations and persons,” the Minority’s request reads. “He may also have insight into the actions of Alexander Torshin, a deputy governor of the Central Bank of Russia, and Maria Butina, reportedly a former assistant to Mr. Torshin, at the NRA convention.”
The Butina indictment details the conversation she was having with Torshin via social media about concerns over Mitt Romney being the possible Secretary of State nominee.
Johnny Yenason was another person for whom Democrats sought to question. According to the request “Yenason has been identified as a key individual connected to the NRA and the Russian organization “The Right to Bear Arms,” started by Maria Butina. Mr. Yenason reportedly knows Alexander Torshin and Ms. Butina and may be the person who connected these individuals with senior officials from the Trump campaign.”
There are others unaffiliated with the NRA, such as Sergei Millian, who leads a group called the Russian-American Chamber of Commerce. He’s declined to cooperate.
Another is Mark Corallo, who privately told Michael Wolff that he “believed the meeting on Air Force One in which President Trump reportedly personally drafted the statement concerning his son’s June 9, 2016 meeting with Russian intermediaries likely amounted to obstruction of justice.” The incident was in Wolff’s book Fire and Fury.
The indictment handed down last Friday with the 12 Russian hackers named with forensic details named one Republican running for Congress, who sought hacked information on their opponent. The March 2018 witness request asked to question Aaron Nevins, “a Florida political operative and blogger” who requested and received the hacked information from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee from Guccifer 2.0.
Nevins is a political consultant in south Florida who placed a donation button his site and launched a campaign in wake of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre. The campaign “It’s about Parkland not Politics,” raised enough money for Nevins to send out a mailer for a political candidate that had nothing to do with the shooting or Parkland.
Rep. Quigley said that the reason Republicans quickly shutdown the House Russia investigation was because “they didn’t like where it was going.”
“Thank God the [Robert] Mueller investigation continues so the American public can get a glimmer, through the indictments last week and this indictment today, of just what took place. It is a path towards the White House,” he told Lemon.
Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) ended the House Russia investigation in March. The Senate investigation is ongoing as is the special counsel.