She does realize that she’s white, right?
Here are some of the highlights form the interview courtesy of CBS News:
Lesley Stahl: You were seeking a second amendment for Russia. Is that correct?
Maria Butina: We were trying to get the changes in Russian law that would allow guns for self-defense.
Lesley Stahl: Okay. So you hear that, an American hears that, and they say, “Come on, Putin is not going to allow people to run around owning guns.” Here’s the case against you, that you started this organization as a way to infiltrate the NRA here to meet people as a way in to influence us.
Maria Butina: That’s nonsense.
Lesley Stahl: But you did that. You used your organization to meet people in the NRA.
Maria Butina: The NRA, for us, has always been an example. Because there is no more powerful lobbyist gun group in the world than the NRA. Learning from them was an honor.
Oh, I’ll bet it was an honor to learn from an organization that has refined infiltration into the GOP to a science.
Lesley Stahl also asked Butina about her ties to Alexander Torshin a Russian official with close ties to Putin, who seemed to serve as her handler:
Lesley Stahl: Was he close to Putin?
Maria Butina: I don’t think so.
Lesley Stahl: So you wrote him a message and you said, “You are an influential member of [Putin’s] team.” Your words.
Maria Butina: It doesn’t suggest he’s close to Putin in any way.
Lesley Stahl: But was he an influential member of Putin’s team?
Maria Butina: I don’t know.
Lesley Stahl: Well, you wrote that. You know, in reading through your messages it reads as if he’s– your intelligence case officer.
Maria Butina: Look, this is– I think it’s an American, very old saying that suggests that wolves have teeth, but not all animals with teeth are wolves. You cannot judge a person based on appearance.
Okay first off that saying sounds very Russian to me, and secondly Butina plead guilty to conspiring to act as a foreign agent, so her denials here do not hold much water.
Stahl also talked about Butina’s question to Donald Trump about removing the sanctison against Russia:
Lesley Stahl: One of the goals of the Russian government at this point in time was to get rid of those sanctions. It was a major goal.
Maria Butina: It was also a major goal for every Russian citizen that suffers today from these sanctions, I believe that our countries shall not fight.
Lesley Stahl: So you asked about sanctions and not gun rights because you want us to be friends.
Maria Butina: Absolutely.
It is at this point that Lesley Stahl brings in the big guns:
Not long after she began helping organize U.S.-Russian friendship dinners. In a document sent to Torshin, she wrote that these dinners “will make it possible to exert the speediest and most effective influence on the process of making decisions in the American establishment.”
Lesley Stahl: That’s pretty explicit, that you’re seeking to influence U.S. policy.
Maria Butina: It’s pretty explicit that I am seeking that our two countries establish friendship between each other. And I don’t mean governments, I mean people.
As the 2016 U.S. Election was approaching, she claimed to have success making direct contact with several of Donald Trump’s Russian advisors.
And she writes Torshin: “We made our bet. I am following our game.”
Torshin answers: “…this is the battle for the future, it cannot be lost… patience and cold blood…”
A week later, Butina writes: “…only ingognito! Right now everything has to be quiet and careful.”
Lesley Stahl: So incognito, patience, cold blood. What is that?
Maria Butina: Let me take you back to 2016, around the election’s time. Do you remember how at that point American media treated Russia? Everything was toxic. Tell me that there is no racism here against the Russians? Oh, please. It is.
Of course, this has nothing to do with protecting our country from foreign influence, it is just about our racist hatred toward Russians.
Makes perfect sense.
I would be willing to bet that there are a lot of Maria Butinas still in this country, and that not one of them is at all concerned with helping America and Russia become better friends.