Well this is very interesting. During that sham investigation by the House Intelligence Committee, the Democrats on the committee wanted to subpoena Maria Butina, the alleged Russian operative who has now been indicted by a federal prosecutor for failing to register as a Russian agent, but the Republicans who controlled the committee refused to allow it. And she’s not the only one.
“Let me tell you, she was high on our list on the Democratic side to, interview on the House Select Committee Intelligence investigation,” Quigley said, in an interview with CNN’s Don Lemon.
“Really?” Lemon replied, shocked.
“The Republicans refused to allow her to come testify,” Quigley continued. “They refused multiple — I would say there’s probably 30 other key witnesses like her that they refused to bring before the committee.”…
“The fact that we were shut down, they refused to allow subpoenas to go forward involving the gun rights group she formed in Russia and its connection to the NRA — the fact that there were so many other documents they refused subpoena,” he continued. “They refused to subpoena anyone and make them answer questions. They went along with the White House insisting no one has to answer our questions. That sounds like they wanted to work with the White House to protect it politically and legally not get to the truth.”
And several other witnesses the Democrats wanted to call but weren’t allowed to do so were mentioned in the minority report on the investigation:
Cleta Mitchell is one person the members requested, since she has been the law firm that conducts work for the NRA. The Democratic committee members wondered if Mitchell could “clarify for the Committee any Russian-related approaches to and interaction with the organization and persons of interest to the Committee during the 2016 election.”
Paul Erickson emailed Trump campaign officials during the 2016 campaign, saying that Russia was “seeking a dialogue with the U.S.” and would use the NRA’s annual convention that year to make “first contact.” It’s unknown if Butina was the one who made that contact.
“Mr. Erickson may be able to provide insight into reported Russian-directed efforts throughout and possibly prior to 2016 to approach U.S. organizations and persons,” the Minority’s request reads. “He may also have insight into the actions of Alexander Torshin, a deputy governor of the Central Bank of Russia, and Maria Butina, reportedly a former assistant to Mr. Torshin, at the NRA convention.”…
Johnny Yenason was another person for whom Democrats sought to question. According to the request “Yenason has been identified as a key individual connected to the NRA and the Russian organization “The Right to Bear Arms,” started by Maria Butina. Mr. Yenason reportedly knows Alexander Torshin and Ms. Butina and may be the person who connected these individuals with senior officials from the Trump campaign.”
Sounds to me like the NRA intervened and put pressure on Devin Nunes and the other Republican leaders of that committee to make sure no one who could implicate them in what is really starting to look like a campaign to funnel Russian money to Trump via that organization to influence the outcome of the election. Reports are that as much as $50 million in Russian money went to the NRA, no doubt through a labyrinth of shell corporations and third-party groups, which then spent $35 million in support of Trump’s campaign to become president.
Mueller has all of this, including records of NRA donations. And it’s actually better that it come from him than from the House investigation because he has the power to build a direct criminal case and file charges against everyone involved other than Trump. And I fully expect that to happen, probably sooner rather than later.