Indictment of Russian Spy Butina Points to Russia’s Selection of Tillerson
Since the January 10, 2017 publication of the Steel dossier by BuzzFeed, those on the right have been calling it ‘discredited,’ ‘salacious,’ ‘debunked,’ and ‘fake.” The problem with this narrative is that a very large portion of the the dossier has been incredibly accurate, and very little, if anything, has actually been completely disproven to date. In fact, the dossier has acted as a blueprint for much of what the mainstream media has reported on over the course of the last 18 months. And after this week’s indictment of alleged Russian spy Maria Butina, Christopher Steele’s integrity and legitimacy shot up once more.
You may recall a key piece written by Jane Mayer of The New Yorker, back in March of this year. The story discussed how Steele tried to warn the world about Trump’s ties to Russia. What it also does, is provide further details on additional memos Steele had written. One such memo, which certainly caught our eye, was the one alleging that Russia picked Trump’s Secretary of State. An excerpt from Mayer’s piece discussing this particular Steele memo, can be read below:
“The official said that he was merely relaying talk circulating in the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, but what he’d heard was astonishing: people were saying that the Kremlin had intervened to block Trump’s initial choice for Secretary of State, Mitt Romney… The memo said that the Kremlin, through unspecified channels, had asked Trump to appoint someone who would be prepared to lift Ukraine-related sanctions, and who would coöperate on security issues of interest to Russia, such as the conflict in Syria. If what the source heard was true, then a foreign power was exercising pivotal influence over U.S. foreign policy—and an incoming President.”
On the surface, this was just yet another incredibly frightening claim by the man Republicans seem to equate to satan, Christopher Steele. When this information, however, is viewed along with details we’ve learned since, as well as the indictment this week of alleged Russian spy, Maria Butina, the pieces of the puzzle really seem to come together.
As MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow pointed out on her show last night, Butina’s indictment makes it clear that she was communicating with the Kremlin-connected banker, Alexander Torsion, regarding this very same topic. The FBI claims that they have evidence, which points to the fact that just hours after the 2016 election was called for Trump, Butina and Torshin discussed, via Twitter direct message, who “might be nominated for Secretary of State.” Then on November 11, just 3 days after Trump won the election, Butina sent a ‘Russian official,’ presumably Torshin, another direct message via Twitter “in which she predicted who might be named Secretary of State,” and “asked the Russian official to find out how ‘our people’ felt about that potential nomination.”
To add even more fuel to the fire, also in March of this year, The Wall Street Journal published a piece detailing social media activity by ‘Russian-backed online trolls,’ attacking Trump’s decision to interview Mitt Romney for the Secretary of State cabinet position.
“Several of the most popular accounts linked to a pro-Kremlin propaganda agency… slammed the former Massachusetts governor in late November and Early December 2016, encouraging their tens of thousands of followers to take action,” The Wall Street Journal reported.
In the end, the President decided to forgo the nomination of Romney and chose former ExxonMobile CEO, Rex Tillerson, who received a ‘Russian Order of Friendship’ medal directly from Putin in years past. While the Butina allegations in and of themselves may not be a smoking gun, when this information is combined with Steele’s memo and activity by online Russian trolls, the picture does seem to get quite clear.