Extent Of Maria Butina’s Influence On The NRA Still Being Explored | Rachel Maddow | MSNBC
have a great weekend and thanks to you at home for joining us this our as mentioned Rachel does have the night off with a lot of interesting stuff to get to tonight there is so much happening this Friday in the news a blistering critique came through today ministrations attempts to reunite hundreds of the family that separate along the border Chris was just reporting on this a court order does require it and we will be joined the Night by reporter Jacob soboroff to explain what set that federal judge off today meanwhile Donald Trump is back at his Golf Club in New Jersey he’s going to stay there for 2 more weeks we learn that from Rudy Giuliani who now claims Trump will once and for all announced whether he’s doing that much discussed interview with special counsel Bob Miller who himself was busy today wrapping the first week of trial of trump campaign chairman Paul manafort that’s not even the only legal news you remember all that drama over the first publication to ever release the now-infamous Trump Russia dossier was the website BuzzFeed they made the choice lawsuits Goodwill late today I don’t know if you heard about this yet but it’s potentially significant newest broke there is a fascinating fact in this case BuzzFeed will be able to pursue legally James Comey and other key Federal to depose them under oath all of this to address some of the questions we’ve all been wondering like how did that. CA make its way not only into the federal government the FBI the when exactly did President Barack Obama learn about explosive contents and the allegations about a man who would replace him Donald Trump and so we begin looking at this deal. CA right now all of this of course comes to when the FBI announced that it was releasing some records between the agent Christopher Steele the author 71 Pages come out in the former British intelligence officer is actually not refer to technically by his name but by the letters c h s confidential human source detailed reports of payments to steal mostly redacted you can see their that’s a lot of white space there are two exceptions the final page is information from a document from February 2016 of course that’s long before the Russia probe began it says steel was quote verbally admonished by the FBI and it’s still acknowledge the admonishment and even sign a document noting it from this excerpt which obviously is tantalizing we don’t have the wider context why the other item comes from page 2 of these new documents it concerns the FBI’s decision to terminate its relationship with steel guess when just days before the 2016 election of this document says steal I confirmed his relationship with the FBI to an outside party and that he was a source for a quote online article in addition to revealing his relationship with the FBI steel also revealed information that he had provided to the bureau so take it together because this is pivotal stuff on November 1st one week before the election stealing formed by the FBI handle the nature of the relationship between the FBI and steel would change completely and it was unlikely the FBI would a relationship with him that article was published online on October 31st it was written by someone who is broken a lot of news in this story who I’m sure you’ve seen if you watch Rachel you’ve seen him talk to Rachel David Corn the Mother Jones wife Debbie Rowe cheap he also interviewed steel for the story and the headline is right there a veteran spy is giving the FBI information alleging a Russian operation to cultivate Donald Trump that was before the election it was the first media count to reveal the existence of the memos that now of course have become a big deal they are known as the Steele dossier they allege among other things that the Trump campaign had organized collusion with the Kremlin this is something of huge significance way above Party politics that intelligence officer told corn that would be steel quote I think Trump Zone party should be aware of this stuff as well if it’ll come price of the FBI investigation into the Trump campaign contact with Russia was not confirmed for many more months it’s even easy to forget that cuz it’s the kind of big information it’s the center of American politics and we all talked about it people don’t even follow the news know about it but be clear it was not until March 2017 many months later that’s after the inauguration after the election but FBI director James Comey went down to the hill where he was testifying and said yes there was an open probe that time the FBI also initiated a separate but related investigation and that has now broken much into public view much more because the break came with this very curious indictment of a woman named Maria butina that she was suspect unregistered agent of the Russian government that she was trying to mount this Cobra influence operation through a conservative group a gun rights group in the us tonight the same reporter who had the breakthroughs group about the Steele dossier as a new and obviously provocative question did alleged Russian spy Maria butina cause a leadership shake-up at the NRA and the back story here is an FBI dive prior to the fact of trump becoming president in to rush attempts to influence the NRA which itself is a weird story now that counterintelligence investigation focused on a man who also has become more known one of these oligarchs his name Alexander torshin he’s a Russian Banker he was a politician there and he’s a Putin Ally is Protege is Maria butina and cheese founded in gun rights group in Russia of the right to bear arms so you have a food and connected oligarch attached to a gun rights platform and that is very Riyadh Steven Hall the former Chief of Russian operation to the CIA explains it in dust Lee the idea of a private gun ownership is an estimate to Putin so the question is why would they pro-gun campaign being hatched important Zone party dancer put forward here that Putin was reaching out to attract the NRA specifically over to Russia this is part of what the justice department alleges and again the case is only beginning but what they allege covert influence operation torsion cultivating ties with the NRA all the way back in 2010 with tuna become NRA members which is weird they begin attending the NRA yearly conferences in the US with her about domestic politics they meet with top NRA officials they cultivate these friendships the pictures tell the story and back two times they got senior NRA officials to go to Russia all-expenses-paid of course 2013 the president of the NRA which is follow politics you know is a big job and something of a conservative star among people who care a lot about gun rights which is a lot of people in America is named their you see him is David Keen he goes to Moscow president introduced by Guess Who yes Maria Tina and then they declare know two people were more alike than Russians and Americans so they had to work together partly because over the course of the last three years I’ve posted your Senator Alexander fortunate few National Rifle Association in your meetings in Washington both of the United States and of course they’re more alike than Americans and Russians there are no more people’s more like the Americans and Russians I mean it’s fine if you want to bring people together with commonality but that’s not usually what you hear from highly conservative political operatives in America certainly not back then 2013 Florida December 2015 the middle of what is of course the pre presidential campaign season Keen as well as other top NRA leaders include future NRA president Pete Brown well and they head back to Russia this is their second visit to go to Moscow booty meeting with the CEO of a private Russian gun manufacturer which produces a sniper rifle identified the paint by the Pentagon not for domestic use or hunting but actually as a threat to American soldiers the NRA leaders to do a tour of that facility 2 of course shoot some guns on site the NRA reportedly spent 30 million dollars to support Trump in 2016 and on the one hand they do typically support republican nominees but here’s what you need to know that was Triple the amount they spend behalf of Mitt Romney just for years prior and then in January you get this reported McClatchy the FBI investigating whether Russia use this relationship with the NRA to illegally funnel foreign cash into the gun rights organization is part of an effort to support so ever since Maria boo Tina was arrested and charged with conspiracy on behalf of Russia the NRA has consistently declined to comment to all kinds of sources and all kinds of Publications on this association with what is now and then why did Russian spy facing those allegations now is Raising this question about whether the arrest of who Tina cause a leadership shake up shortly after at the NRA corn riding on May 7th released a curious press release declare it Oliver North known history of the key player on Iran Contra Scandal but is also a standing NRA board member was now cool toys to become the new president this Changing of the Guard and how it happened the rights earlier that day Peter Brownell than finishing his first term identity president had announced he would not seek a second annual term for 15 years in our leadership and followed a pretty specific pattern we’re getting deep into the bylaws but it’s actually quite important so he Alcorn explain to the officer elected by the board to serve two consecutive annual terms as second vice president then to his first vice-president and finally two as president but the brown Weldon North transition broke this process and president puzzling Benny NRA Watchers it even puzzle the incoming president of the NRA himself reaction to being elected to present as president of the National Rifle Association privileged I am grateful for the unanimous support of the board I did not expect this was going to be happening at this annual meeting but as soon as I get everything in order in my family because this was very sudden I’ll be back to take that those kind of on camera interviews are useful may have sounded like a basic question but we learn from Oliver North’s own mouth this was unexpected it was sudden he was getting ready to adjust at the last minute and then you have a true state secret that was unknown at least to the public at that time two weeks earlier in April FBI agents clad in their tactical gear were raiding lutina’s apartment where they arrested her now we know that from these reports and did that FBI investigation of butene a lead to NRA president Peter Brown as decision to in the words of Oliver North suddenly step down he had of course after all interact with Poochyena in Moscow 3 years earlier Grizzly shed light on this we would love to bring you their side of the story any comment anything Vega anything but they are declining to comment tonight same for Brownell corn reports he’s not taking calls on Joy now by the report Center the action David Corn Washington bureau chief for Mother Jones David we always learn a lot from you I appreciate you joining me this Friday night thanks for having me on this on the weekend heading into the weekend you have a lot in this story as you know Rachel has been on many pieces to destroy for quite some time is it Vance through what happened with the NRA and let me start with the biggest question I don’t need to save it reading between the lines of your reporting are you saying you have reason to believe that another indictment coming pursuant to the NRA case I don’t make any predictions on what the molar investigation is going to be are the investigation which is separate we keep I’m surprised in the big picture here are a is that we keep learning new things things that we didn’t know a week ago 6 months ago and so on all these investigations Bobby Michael Cohn Trump Russia and of course the NRA application but it was as you noted I was very puzzling when the NRA went through this leadership change I remember getting the press release and it was weirdly put Oliver North is poised to become an RA not that he’s been chosen NRA president but he’s poised to become NRA president and is he is he put it was news to me and no one can really explain why this very hierarchical organization that had a very strict rules of deception in terms of its leadership with all the sudden talk a guy out who didn’t see it coming and make him president the NRA when he wasn’t prepared to be and then only recently with the Bettina case about this FBI raid I remember her partner romantically and politically was a guy named Paul Erickson who was an NRA activist in he had been working with her to I’ll trade penetrate make connections with people in the NRA and other conservative groups so if she were rated as she was one would expect him to know about it and word to start filtering out which could have caused tremendous Panic within the NRA and might have an invite have led to anyone being connected with Bettina to be scared I’m not sure about an indictment but to be scared of being caught up in and it shorted yes in Peterborough now was very much involved having gone on trips that Bettina organized and having been one of the NRA highest officials that she had cultivate when you look at the NRA which has a lot of season political professionals people may disagree with their views on on gun rights and access to guns but these are people who have been around watching maze the top of one of the most powerful organizations around how can one benignly or positively explain the complete idiot’s to your ignorance that would be required to think that an authoritarian country would have a vibrant private gun rights movement there’s so much puzzling about this in the book I did with Michael is a cop Russian Roulette we wrote about the Bettina case before it became a criminal case and we noted that she had shown up at NRA events and other conservative events like CPAC the annual get together and was really trying to make friends with some of the leading officials in fact one fellow you know who said Yeah by his own admission he’s in his 60s doesn’t allow the air as well punch he’s I’m not used to young attractive women coming up to me and saying will you be my face friend can I Snapchat with you and he thought there was something odd and weird that Bettina and this Russian legislator named Alexander torshin kept showing up and that the NRA that he was apart of what bracing this pair of Boris and Natasha and so there were some people thought this was odd but certainly if you watch a video of David Keen if you watch the video that was made on the Peterborough now trip in 2015 these guys are really having a good time they’re getting off making these Russian connections and the usual living there was some suspicion about a Snapchat Honeypot but it’s clear the time and it was clear in the 2016 2016 campaign that whoever was masterminding this weather was torsion or somebody else they had a pretty good insight into American politics if you want to work your way into yo influencing Republicans and conservatives who are now you know controlling all arms of government do it through the NRA and they trying to get what what did Warren Zevon say bring Lawyers Guns and Money what is hit the fan one of my favorite songs Family Show Captain infiltrating specifically the conservative wing of American politics in the way they did it and that gives of course insight into what they’re accused of with regard to the Trump campaign with JD Gordon a trump advisor who sits at the Nexus of guns and Trump I stopped at the final question I have for you haven’t even gotten to yet which is the way you continue to figure into this and your report of the people’s known for a long time your name and Reporting came up it in the very controversial debates Over The Wire stabbing of Carter page and whether your material was underlyingly was I would say underlying material for that lawful wiretap today we see in the little Parts I shared this with viewers at the top a little parts that we do glean from what’s come out with steel is the FBI assertion that they stopped working with him because of what he told you and what you publish your response sir well I think we knew that already and we certainly reported that in in the book I go is a Gotham so it’s not a surprise it confirms that and the other point I would make is it when I talk to Christopher still in the very end of October 2016 he was talking to me very reluctantly scared the material that he had found connections allegations between the trunk interactions between Trump and and the Russian government frighten him as a veteran Counter Intelligence officer and he had taken his material to the I had been working with him but he felt this information needed to get out in some way before the election the American public had to be told this so he was David at the FBI no not at all they were they were doing everything still doing everything they now the reason is the conventional reason that it was a counterintelligence operation that was ongoing and Jim call me and others have explained that they don’t make that information public even when members of Congress ask steals position was that he thought there was enough connections enough to worry about without knowing the full picture that the FBI should have worked harder and you always the US government selling the US government to make more of that available to the public before they cast votes on November 8th so that’s why you talk to me when he did that the FBI said okay you’re now too much of a of your own you have a lone wolf doing this on your own and we don’t want to work with you anymore so but I think he knew that this would get him in trouble with the bureau but he thought it was important the public knew something about this it’s fascinating and it’s a story that obviously has gotten deeper and you been there from the start I do appreciate your time tonight sir thank you David after watching MSNBC on YouTube if you want to keep up-to-date with the videos were putting out you can click subscribe just below me or click over on this list to see lots of other great videosDavid Corn, Washington bureau chief for Mother Jones Magazine talks about the possibility that Mariia Butina influenced the NRA’s choice of leadership, and offers insights on Christopher Steele’s relationship with the FBI as the FBI has released a new set of heavily redacted documents.
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Extent Of Maria Butina’s Influence On The NRA Still Being Explored | Rachel Maddow | MSNBC