Two former top Department of Justice officials predicted that Maria Butina was not the only Russian operative to penetrate conservative political organizations with close ties to the Republican Party during a Wednesday panel with MSNBC anchor Katy Tur.
Butina was indicted on Sunday for being an unregistered foreign agent. A crack shot, Butina had a very close relationship with the National Rifle Association.
“Katy, this is a wild, wild story with the potential to send shockwaves not just into Trump campaign officials, but throughout the Republican Party,” explained former Deputy Assistant Attorney General Harry Litman.
The indictment could quickly spill over into special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigations of Donald Trump.
“And anyone who was in Paul Erickson’s rolodex, including Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) and Wayne LaPierre and Scott Walker (R-WI) is right now shaking in his boots waiting for Mueller to come knocking,” Litman explained.
Matt Miller, the former spokesperson for the Department of Justice, explained why the federal indictment against Butina was not filed by the special counsel.
“If you look at the indictment … if you look at what the activities it lays out, they are accusing her not of trying to influence the election, but of trying to cultivate influence in the United States, of trying to infiltrate the NRA, trying to infiltrate the Republican Party on behalf of the Russian intelligence services,” Miller explained.
“If you read the pleading the government made public today, they talk about her trying to trade sex in return for a position inside a special interest group,” he noted. “You have to believe it’s a conservative organization, maybe the NRA, maybe somewhere else — another document talked about her trying to get close to CPAC.”
“So I think the question for all of these groups, is, ‘how were they so vulnerable to penetration by a Russian intelligence service, by Russian intelligence agents, and is in the only one?'” Miller wondered.
“We keep seeing, both in the Mueller investigation and now in this case, a broad Russian conspiracy to influence and infiltrate American policy making through Republican and conservative organizations, he continued.
“You can’t not believe she is the only agent,” he concluded.
“This really is right out of The Americans,” Litman added.
Retired admiral could pose serious threat if he decides to run against Iowa Republican: report
On Wednesday, Iowa Starting Line reported that Ret. Adm. Michael Franken is in talks with state and national Democrats about challenging GOP Sen. Joni Ernst.
Franken, who has served as Deputy for Military Operations for AFRICOM, Director of the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, and Chief of Legislative Affairs for the Department of the Navy, hails from Sioux Center, a town in the deeply conservative northwest part of the state.
Ernst, who first gained national attention for her 2014 campaign ad about castrating hogs, is a reliable vote for President Donald Trump in the Senate, and the president's poor approval ratings in Iowa have left Democrats hopeful that they can defeat her.
‘This American dream’: Pain overwhelms family of drowned migrants
"They had this American dream," sobbed Rosa Ramirez after images of her drowned son and granddaughter, discovered face-down on the banks of the Rio Grande between Mexico and the United States, shocked the world on Wednesday.
The poignant pictures of Oscar Alberto Martinez and his toddler daughter Valeria -- not yet two years old -- has sparked outrage back home in El Salvador, where around 200 migrants like them leave for the United States daily, preparing to take similar risks.
"The pain has been immense. I still can't believe that my boy and my little granddaughter are dead, they only wanted to get to the United States.... they had this American dream -- to achieve a better life," Oscar's mother told AFP.
Venezuela government says thwarted attempted ‘coup’
Venezuela's socialist government said Wednesday it had derailed an attempted coup, claiming the United States, Colombia and Chile colluded in a military plot to assassinate President Nicolas Maduro and install a general and former defense minister in his place.
Communications Minister Jorge Rodriguez said the plan involved active and retired army officers and was to have been executed between Sunday and Monday this past weekend.
"We were in all the meetings to plan the coup d'Etat. We were in all the conferences," Rodriguez said, suggesting that government informers had infiltrated the alleged plotters during planning meetings.