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Blogging on the Radio: Maria Butina, Paul Erickson, and the Kremlin Connection in South Dakota

Patrick Lalley digs the Maria Butina story. He invited me on KSOO Radio this afternoon for a full segment on the arrested Russian agent, her connection with Republican operative and South Dakota native Paul Erickson, GOP Congressional candidate Dusty Johnson, and their Kremlin connection.

Our conversation begins at 34:10.

Lalley also mentioned Seth Tupper’s solid coverage of the Butina-Erickson-Johnson affair. See Tupper’s latest (including Johnson’s statement that Erickson offered Butina as a speaker at Johnson’s Teenage Republican camp speaker), as well as Tupper’s really good February 11, 2018, dig into Erickson’s background and connections to the Trump-Russia probe.


  1. Porter Lansing 2018-07-17 19:08

    ✪✪✪✪✪ Остерегайтесь коктейля «Новичок»! ☠

  2. jerry 2018-07-17 20:05

    Comrade trump does not who to stroke, his boy Putin or his boy in Israel. So do you keep taking the money from the Jewish State for his son in law or do you keep taking the money and the vote from Pootie Putin. Maybe both.

    “Touting his success in talking US President Donald Trump into leaving the Iran Deal at a closed Likud conference on Tuesday night, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: “We convinced the president of the United States to stand up to the whole world against the agreement (JCPOA [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action]) and now the Iranian regime.”

    Emphasizing the danger is not with the Iranian people but with the Iranian government, Netanyahu added: “Not the Iranian people – we have nothing against them.”

  3. Debbo 2018-07-17 21:01

    I followed the links and read the articles, letters, etc. The GOP and Pootie are entwined like a vine growing up a trellis. It’s not going to go well for Erickson, another narcissistic white boy who thinks he’s above the law.

    They can release the children and weed smokers from prisons to make room for all the crooked Repubs.

  4. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-07-17 23:15

    And there’s boffing: Washington Post reports tonight that in testimony to Senate Intel last April, Maria Butina said she and Paul Erickson were lovers:

    There, Butina met Paul Erickson, a South Dakota-based Republican operative who was well known to Republican insiders, going back to the work he did as national political director for Pat Buchanan’s presidential campaign in 1992. She told the Senate Intelligence Committee in April that she began a romantic relationship with the American operative, people familiar with her testimony said [Rosalind S. Helderman, Tom Hamburger, Shane Harris and Carol D. Leonnig, “‘She was like a novelty’: How alleged Russian agent Maria Butina gained access to elite conservative circles,” Washington Post, 2018.07.17].

    And Butina was coming back to South Dakota soon:

    On Sunday, alerted that she was preparing to leave Washington for South Dakota, where monitoring her would be more difficult, federal authorities arrested Butina [Helderman et al., 2018.07.17].

    Great Gaia! It’s as tawdry as it sounded the first time! And we’re still in the story! Is Paul Erickson in town? Who was going to meet Maria at the airport? What influencers did Paul have lined up for her to meet this time?

    You know, TARs Camp is next week. Maybe Dusty was having Maria back as a full-time counselor.

  5. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-07-17 23:20

    From that same WaPo article, we learn that Paul Erickson “lobbied for a role in Trump’s transition team and complained after the election when he ran into a problem with his security clearance….” He might have had trouble getting that clearance because the FBI had been watching Butina since August 2016 and probably knew at that time of her relationship with Erickson.

  6. Debbo 2018-07-17 23:29

    That’s funny. In a grim, ironic/tragic way.

  7. mike from iowa 2018-07-18 06:25

    They’ll have to release the children and weed smokers from prisons to make room for all the crooked Repubs.

    I fixed it for you, Debbo. T minus 5 days and counting.

  8. Porter Lansing 2018-07-18 07:16

    Of course she was having romantic relations with the ugliest Republicans with power. That’s what sparrows are trained to do. Here’s a teaser …

  9. Eve Fisher 2018-07-18 07:53

    I knew she’d be back in the news, but who knew that she was such a classic spy, an OBVIOUS spy. Paul Erickson needs to be arrested like, yesterday.

  10. Dana P 2018-07-18 08:33

    Red Sparrow

  11. Dana P 2018-07-18 08:35

    As the information unfolds, it will be interesting to see how many South Dakota GOP men were lead around by their……uh hem, guns and other “things”, by this Red Sparrow

  12. Nick Nemec 2018-07-18 09:11

    Classic, obvious spy is an understatement. And her targets are stereotypes of a spy target. If we read this in a spy novel we would laugh and toss the book aside because it was too simplistic. Truth is stranger than fiction.

  13. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-07-18 10:55

    More boffing!

    Finally, the FBI said it has determined that even though she had a personal relationship with Person 1, identified by NPR as political fundraiser Paul Erickson, she “offered an individual other than Person 1 sex in exchange for a position with a special interest organization. Further, in papers seized by the FBI, Butina complained about living with Person 1.”

    The FBI said it saw her and Person 1 at a U-Haul truck facility on July 14, a day before she was arrested. Butina had boxes in her apartment the following day when the FBI arrived [Carrie Johnson, “Maria Butina Was In Contact With Russian Intelligence, Feds Say In New Documents,” NPR, 2018.07.18].

    Oh yeah, and the FBI says in today’s court papers that “Butina has been in contact with Russia’s FSB intelligence agency “throughout her entire time” in the United States.”

  14. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-07-18 11:18

    From the government’s motion today to detain Butina pre-trial, since she “presents an extreme risk of flight”:

    FBI surveillance over the past week has confirmed that Butina has access to funds and an intention to move money outside of the United States. Butina’s closest tie to the United States is the individual identified as U.S. Person 1 in the Indictment, but she appears to treat that relationship as simply a necessary aspect of her activities. Her last tie to the District of Columbia—her apartment lease—ends on July 31, 2018, and there were boxes packed in her apartment consistent with a move at the time of her arrest on July 15, 2018.

    A: right now, Paul Erickson is cranking Bob Seger: “I used her, she used me, neither one cared….”

    B: Access to funds? Lease runs out July 31? Maybe Maria Butina is actually Angela Sparrow, the mysterious gal with the $1.3-million SNAP contract. :-D

  15. Porter Lansing 2018-07-18 12:32

    The plot thickens … guess where Maria and ex-lover Paulie were headed?
    ~ from WasingtonPost 52 minutes ago …
    – FBI agents in March spotted her dining with a Russian diplomat who is “suspected by the United States Government of being a Russian intelligence officer.”
    – “Butina complained about living with U.S. Person 1 and expressed disdain for continuing to cohabitate with U.S. Person 1.”
    – Investigators believed she may have intended to go to Erickson’s home state of South Dakota before she was arrested.

  16. Jenny 2018-07-18 12:50

    Guns and good looking women always does it for them good ol boys. South Dakota Republican men couldn’t Resist being attracted by her sexy accent and her hot little petite body. And her values, those good wholesome conservative values along with her love for America’s second amendment . She had the whole package and those SD good ol boys were swept away by her irresistibility.
    Nick is right, this plays like your typical Hollywood spy movie!

  17. Debbo 2018-07-18 14:18

    Yeah, the FBI learned Buttina was heading for SouDakota, where it would be more difficult to keep tabs on her.

    T – 5 . . . . . . . . . .

  18. Porter Lansing 2018-07-18 14:44

    @Jenny … She’s not hot enough for liberals to look twice. :0) Men or women.

  19. Mariah, Maria, Mary 2018-07-22 06:46

    Nick Nemec: Truth is stranger than fiction! Amen.

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