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.