Charles Bausman was at the Jan 6th insurrection and then fled to Russia as a “political refugee.” - NYT
- Bausman is founder of pro-Putin, RUSSIAN INSIDER website and asked for money from a Russian oligarch - Stop Fake
- Major GOP donor Len Blavatnik with Russian ties, donated over $6 million to Republicans. - Dallas Morning News
- Mitch McConnell linked super PAC took $2.5 million from a pro-Putin businessman. #TrumpLeaks
- Senate Republicans refused to hold Donald Trump accountable for insurrection. - Sierra Club
- John Hanick with Fox News for 15 years leaves for Russia to start a Pro-Putin TV channel. - NYT
- Maria Butina, a Russia indicted on espionage charges, suspected of trading sex for favors with NRA fundraiser. - Business Insider
- Insurrectionists arrested at the Capitol had ties to the NRA. - Everytown Research
Random coincidences or a criminal conspiracy? Judge for yourself. Follow the money with this relationship map.
Follow the money
The NY Times report reported that Charles Bausman, an American citizen fled to Russia as a political refugee within 24 hours of being at the violent insurrection. Turns out Charles' dad was the Associated Press Burea Chief in Moscow. Charles later in life becomes a regular commentator on RT, a pro-Putin Russian TV channel and operates right wing websites in the US. Emails from Annonymous show Bausman appealing to Russian oligarchs for money.
"Bausman involved himself in Roger Stone-inspired “Stop the Steal” activism, which sought to reinstall Trump as president based on a lie. Hatewatch later connected Bausman to a network of U.S. white supremacist websites in October 2020 after finding the same Russian email address buried inside of their source code. Hatewatch then published a second report based on the same website infrastructure, connecting Bausman to a hyperpartisan, far-right junk news publication focused on Lancaster." - SPL Center
"Antonova, who underscored Bausman’s connection to Malofeev, described Russia Insider’s funding to Hatewatch as “shady.” Bausman purchased a home in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, for $442,000 in November 2018, according to property records reviewed by Hatewatch. Hatewatch was unable to determine what Bausman does for money beyond his involvement with extremist websites". - SPL Center
Russian sexpionage and money at the NRA
"Maria Butina, a Russian woman pled guilty to conspiracy to act as a foreign agent, in connection with unregistered political lobbying in the United States. She worked as an assistant for Aleksandr Torshin, a member of Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party, and a deputy governor of the Central Bank of Russia. She established a cooperative relationship between the National Rifle Association. In April 2018, Butina told the Senate Intelligence Committee that Konstantin Nikolaev, a Russian billionaire, provided funding for her gun-rights group." - Wikipedia
"She was arrested on a charge of conspiracy to act as an agent of the Russian Federation within the United States. Her attorney said her ties to the National Rifle Association, NRA officials and Republican political operatives were part of networking efforts by Butina. She was indicted on two charges, conspiracy and acting as an agent of a foreign government. NPR reports." - Heavy
- 29-year-old Russian suspect Maria Butina viewed trading sex for favors as a 'necessary aspect of her activities' in the US, DOJ says.
- Maria Butina, the Russian national indicted this week on espionage charges, traded sex for favors while moving into the DC political circle, the Department of Justice said in a court filing on Wednesday.
- The filing says Butina gained access to an "extensive network" of influential Americans through someone described as "US Person 1," widely believed to be the GOP strategist Paul Erickson.
- The DOJ added that "on at least one occasion, Butina offered an individual other than US Person 1 sex in exchange for a position within a special interest organization." - Business Insider
Republicans get $ 6.35 million from Blavatnik
However, from 2015 to late 2017, Blavatnik donated at least $6.35 million to Republican party institutions, PACs, and candidates... He gave the money via Access Industries and AI Altep Holdings, which he also reportedly owns. (The two firms share the same CEO and Blavatnik’s brother is listed as AI Altep’s director, according to Open Corporates.) Most of that cash went to Super PACs associated with Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell and onetime presidential candidates Marco Rubio, Scott Walker, John Kasich, and Lindsey Graham.
Two donations had particularly bad optics, May says: $1 million to the McConnell-associated Senate Leadership Fund PAC on Oct. 25, 2016, and $250,000 to the Rubio-tied Florida First Project on Oct. 27. Two weeks earlier, America’s top intelligence officials had accused Russia of hacking Democratic National Committee servers. Former vice president Joe Biden has since accused McConnell of refusing, during the 2016 campaign, to sign onto a bipartisan statement criticizing the Russian attacks. - Quartz
The John Roberts Supreme Court Citizens United decision lets corporations and individuals make unlimited contributions to independent organizations that use the money to support or defeat a candidate. The ruling led to the creation of “super PACs.” - Public Integrity
Trump - Putin connection
- It's easy to forget that a few years ago, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky wasn't known for his steely wartime leadership, but for getting dragged by Trump into the US political scandal that led to Trump's first impeachment.
- Experts say Trump's actions weakened Ukraine, divided NATO, emboldened Putin and helped get us to where we are today.
- And even with Trump no longer in office, his impact lives on in the form of Putin-friendly commentary in conservative media and from some Republican lawmakers.
- "One of the key reasons Putin probably felt comfortable launching the invasion of Ukraine was the extent to which the West has been weakened and destabilized, and democracy undermined, and political divisions sown, in the five years since he attacked our election in 2016," said Garrett Graff, an expert in national security and Cold War issues. - CNN
Follow the money
Just how badly did Putin want to keep Trump and a compliant GOP in power? Follow the money.
- A Russian oligarch support pro-Putin propagandist takes part in the Jan 6th insurrection and flees 24 hours later to Moscow as a 'political refugee'
- A major NRA fundraiser is linked to a Russian operative reported to trade sex for favors. Top NRA officials cultivated close relationships with influential Russians with ties to Putin. The NRA helped foment an armed insurrection at the capitol.
- GOP leadership including McConnell, Rubio and Graham take millions in Russian-linked donations and refuse to hold Trump responsible for the insurrection.
- Tucker Carlson on FOX defends Putin and ridicules concerns over Putin’s threat to world peace and stability and asserted Americans are being “trained to hate” the Russian leader.
Russians target phishing attacks against 2022 election officials
The FBI is warning US election and other state and local government officials about invoice themed phishing emails that could be used to harvest officials’ login credentials. If successful, this activity may provide cyber actors with sustained, undetected access to a victim’s systems. As of October 2021, US election officials in at least nine states received invoice-themed phishing emails containing links to websites intended to steal login credentials. These emails shared similar attachment files, used compromised email addresses, and were sent close in time, suggesting a concerted effort to target US election officials.
On 5 October 2021, unidentified cyber actors targeted US election officials in at least nine states, and representatives of the National Association of Secretaries of State, with phishing emails. These emails originated from at least two email addresses with the same attachment titled, “INVOICE INQUIRY.PDF,” which redirected users to a credential harvesting website. One of the email addresses sending the phishing emails was a compromised US government official’s email account.
FBI recommends network defenders apply the following mitigations to reduce the risk of compromise. Educate employees on how to identify phishing, spear-phishing, social engineering, and spoofing attempts. Advise employees to be cautious when providing sensitive information – such as login credentials – electronically or over the phone, particularly if unsolicited or anomalous. Employees should confirm, if possible, requests for sensitive information through secondary channels.
Ensure justice is served
When someone plans and recruits participants for a set of crimes - we prosecute the architects, not just the foot soldiers. The same goes for every attempt to overturn the will of the people. While it was the crowd of insurrectionists attacking our country, the politicians who promised they could illegally overthrow our votes are responsible for what happened and must be held to account. We must investigate and prosecute the politicians behind this criminal conspiracy to ensure justice is served.
Trump Republicans in office betrayed America by inciting, encouraging and supporting these armed militants then tried to cover up their role in this violence by blocking the FBI investigation of these crimes. No matter our color, background or party, most of us believe that people who commit crimes against our nation and endanger our lives have no business governing in our name.
Thanks to the careful, thorough work of the January 6th committee, evidence shows Trump Republicans helped plan, promote and excuse the attack on January 6th. Trump Republicans are waging a deliberate disinformation campaign to attack our freedom to vote and have introduced hundreds of election sabotage bills to control election outcomes, punish election officials for doing their jobs, and give partisan poll watchers the ability to harass and intimidate voters.
TakeAway: Americans turned out in 2020, to make sure our votes were counted and that the will of the people prevailed. Democracy is on the ballot in 2022. Vote!
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