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Dusty Called Russian Agent “Incredible” Speaker for Teenage Republicans

The Republican spin blog is too busy to cover the connections of arrested Russian agent Maria Butina to the South Dakota Republican establishment… partly, I imagine, because the SDGOP has a record of working with foreign agents.

But don’t worry, Pat Powers—I’ve got this story covered. I’ll be on KSOO with Patrick Lalley this afternoon at 4 p.m. Central (listen live online here!) to discuss Butina’s arrest and her efforts on behalf of the Russian government to infiltrate American organizations and sway our democratic decision-making apparatus to suit Vladimir Putin’s ambitions.

I’ve also collected a few more fun online clips to nail down the various contacts Butina made in her efforts to butt-in-a American politics.

South Dakota Teenage Republicans noted Butina's visit to their Black Hills camp on July 21, 2015.
South Dakota Teenage Republicans noted Butina’s visit to their Black Hills camp on July 21, 2015.
Dusty Johnson thought Maria Butina was "incredible" at TARS Camp in 2015. Incredible, indeed.
Dusty Johnson thought Maria Butina was “incredible” at TARS Camp in 2015. Incredible, indeed.
Dusty Johnson follows Maria Butina on Twitter to this day.
Dusty Johnson follows Maria Butina on Twitter to this day.
Also eager to follow Butina's online musings Randy Kovuch of the National Rifle Association.
Also friending Butina on Facebook is Randy Kovuch of the National Rifle Association.
Randy Kovuch,Maria Butina's friend and NRA's political affairs director.
Randy Kovuch,Maria Butina’s friend and director of the NRA’s political affairs office of advancement.
On Election Night 2016, Butina tweeted, "America receives Republican Donald Trump for a term as President, supporter of gun rights and restoring relations with Russia."
The NRA and Butina got their wishes on Election Night 2016. Butina cheered the new America by tweeting, “America receives Republican Donald Trump for a term as President, supporter of gun rights and restoring relations with Russia.”
On February 5, 2017, shortly after the National Prayer Breakfast that she attended with her boss Alexander Torshin, Butina said of V.P. Mike Pence, "I suggest that the countries will find the necessary words and actions to fix the situation in Ukraine and take away the stupid ones."
On February 5, 2017, shortly after the National Prayer Breakfast that she attended with her boss Alexander Torshin, Butina said of V.P. Mike Pence, “I suggest that the countries will find the necessary words and actions to fix the situation in Ukraine and take away the stupid ones.”


  1. Roger Cornelius 2018-07-17 15:17

    The Rapid City Journal coverage of this story does not mention Dusty Johnson at all.

  2. Steve Hickey 2018-07-17 15:26

    I can see Russophobia from here.

  3. owen reitzel 2018-07-17 15:41

    Steve. Sad you support Russia like your hero Trump over America.

  4. Jenny 2018-07-17 15:43

    Would you have liked it if the Russians had bought Hillary, Steve?

  5. John Kennedy Claussen, Sr. 2018-07-17 16:15

    For years our Republican friends could never find enough money to stop Russia, but now they appear to be complicit with them, but why? Was it merely because the Cold War was a way to profit?

    Does the fact that the Russians are more capitalist today than they use to be, make it right? Apparently to our Republican friends it does.

    Throughout the Cold War were we fighting for freedom or just capitalism? I thought it was freedom with capitalism as a complement to that freedom so long as the love of liberty – which is found in freedom and can be exercised in it, and within capitalism, too, if properly done – was not eroded by capitalism’s excesses and its potential attacks on the safeguards of freedom for all regardless of one’s wealth and thus of one’s capabilities….

    The question we must ask ourselves, is whether our Republican friends are for the Constitution or merely for the “All Mighty Dollar?” Both are made of paper, but only one guarantees freedom to all, while the other empowers merely the individual, but in ways, which at times must be placed in check, like when Americans prefer Russians over our county just because of money, or with what they like to cloak within the often ambiguous intentions of capitalism itself that at times is dubious at best….



  6. O 2018-07-17 16:37

    So, the quickest pathway into the GOP is through the NRA (for a Russian operative).

    All this points to the shame of our single-issue political mindsets: party first, pro-gun, pro-life. I understand the passion of some on these issues, but the adherence to one idea and one idea ONLY degrades far too many into pawns to be manipulated by those who can play the game better. Once the herd mentality is instilled, all that is left is getting it to move in the desired direction – it will move and it will move together, and it will explode into many, many individual supporting votes (on unrelated issues) when needed.

    The GOP is winning, Trump is winning, Russia is winning because they understand this.

  7. O 2018-07-17 16:40

    John, I think you are on to something – the profit motive. America (Americans) has been mined of it’s value; there is plenty of exploitation left in Russia. Those who seek profit above and beyond all might see a greener pasture in Russia.

  8. John Kennedy Claussen, Sr. 2018-07-17 17:06

    O, thank you, my perspective comes from having known Paul Erickson – who is also caught up in this controversy and can be seen holding the map in the above pictures (Ironically holding up the former Soviet Union side, however ;-) ) – since 1979; and we were actually friends at USD (Although, “Trust but verify friends,” I must admit). I think it is fair to say that we respected each other’s intellect and that was why we were friends. We first met, when I and my partner defeated Paul and his partner in high school debate at the state NFL tournament at O’G.

    Although, we both knew our own philosophies were totally different. I always knew Paul to be a true capitalist and a fierce opponent of the Soviet Union. I especially remember a compassionate speech he gave in Dr. Farber’s American Government Honors class back in the fall of 1979 at USD, where he spoke of the need to fear the Soviet bear during a presentation of his term paper before our class. In fact, back in 1980, Paul preferred Al Haig over Ronald Reagan, if my memory serves me right. But how could that Paul be this Paul without understanding it is all about capitalism first and not America first in my opinion…. It is my personal experiences with Paul Erickson, who I last spoke to about fifteen years ago, that leads me to this understanding of the true unfortunate intentions too often of the American conservative mind, or at least the minds of the leaders within the American conservative movement, that is….

  9. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-07-17 17:21

    You don’t call a guy with a cold a germophobe for reaching for the Kleenex and orange juice. It’s not Russophobia, an irrational fear, to see actual Russian agents engaging in a proven effort to interfere in our elections and suggest that we ought to take some action to stop Putin’s minions from manipulating our democratic decision-making apparatus.

  10. Porter Lansing 2018-07-17 17:42

    This is the story of young, female Russian agents and their duty. Their code name is Sparrow. It’s no doubt similar to what Maria brought to Dusty, Paul Erickson and others in America she needed information from.

  11. mike from iowa 2018-07-17 18:13

    Powers ejaculates Dems did it, too.

  12. Tiffany Campbell 2018-07-17 19:51

    Pitty Pat sounds like a bratty child…”buttttt mom he did it first!”
    When can we get both of you to debate? That’s an event I would pay big money to attend.

  13. Debbo 2018-07-17 21:16

    Mike is right about Rohrbutt.

    Tiffany, same here. That would be fun. I’ll bring the beer, you bring the chips and salsa.

  14. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-07-17 23:49

    Debate with Pat? I don’t think he’d ever agree to it. I’m not sure I should dignify him with such an offer. Why would I want to waste my time with a guy who looks at a story of honest-to-goodness Russian espionage in our midst, a story bursting from every major outlet with new details by the hour (and a court hearing tomorrow!) and says nothing but partisan-motivated what-aboutism. I’ll just keep pouring out the facts and hope that our leaders put the good of the nation over their political positions.

  15. Steve Hickey 2018-07-18 02:13

    The Russians did buy Hillary. 400 million campaign donation, Uranium One, Half million dollars speeches , etc etc.

    Good people over there in Russia. Met folks who want to live in peace and raise families just like us. We marveled at what us Cold War survivors were told to think of each other and the fear we were sold. We both live in nations with whacked governments, each in different ways. Hillary has people killed, so does Putin, apparently. Glad to see us talking to our enemies. You should be too. It’s the better way. Those who profit from perpetual war and defense spending should be outed and ignored. Trump will do what Hillary failed to do, hit reset in our relationship with Russia.

    Intelligence agencies report what they think they know to the President. He takes it into consideration and factors it into a far bigger picture and decides what to do. Apparently Trump figures Lutin would lol if Trump rebuked him for doing what America does all the time . Apparently Trump wanted to each forna bigger prize and jump off the ratwheel of tit for tat with Russia. He wanted some steps toward peace instead. We know intelligence agencies have recently been enormously compromised and politicized. Probably nothing new. Once they told the world about weapons of mass destruction. The war frenzy was fueled. Trillions spent. Millions dead. Decades passing, world no safer, and there aren’t fewer enemies. Would have been nice if the President said, no to that so-called intelligence. We’d have accused him of throwing the intelligence community under the bus. O well. We didn’t elect them to decide. In the present case, we don’t even have the server yet we are certain Russia meddled.

    Hopefully after making peace with N Korea and Russia, Trump can get the Chicago gang leaders in the same room. I predict that happens in his second term. Pence and then Ivanka will each inherit a far better world during their presidencies.

  16. Jenny 2018-07-18 06:06

    Corruption of any kind is never a good thing and I’m surprised you would tolerate it, Steve.
    I wouldn’t consider Putin a ‘good person’ and he probably has something really bad on Trump, which is why Trump is kneeling for him.
    Trump was chosen to be President, since the powerful didn’t want Hillary. Nothing will change here, Putin is not in this to ‘make America great again’. Naïve thinking on your part that this is all for ‘peace’. Powerful ruthless men don’t think that way.

  17. Jenny 2018-07-18 06:15

    Of course, you would be thinking the people of Russian are good, since the LGBT there are badly discriminated against, and many of them murdered because of their sexual orientation. Just keep it real, Steve.

  18. mike from iowa 2018-07-18 06:20

    Hickey, them Scottish beans sure work up a yooooge blow. What did yer lord and saviour tell you about bearing false witness?

  19. Steve Hickey 2018-07-18 06:22

    Concern for LGBT? Yet you aren’t Islamophobic. Only Russophobia? I’ll work on being real, you work on being consistent.

  20. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-07-18 06:38

    Whataboutism is not an appropriate response to clear and present threats to national security. Steve’s cry of Russophobia is a futile word game trying to distract us from the infiltration of his party by foreign operatives.

    Imagine shouting “Japanophobia” at Congress on December 8, 1941. It was perfectly reasonable to declare war on Japan after Pearl Harbor. I’m not calling for going to war or putting Russian Americans in internment camps; I’m just pointing out the significant effort Russian agents are making to shake our democracy and saying we ought to vigilantly defend our country from further such attacks.

  21. Steve Hickey 2018-07-18 07:02

    Funny thing, those Russian agents worked through the DNC and Team Hillary with Obama doing nothing. But you guys refuse to call out your own team. Try it sometime, I do it all the time. It is what America needs most. Get over the deep seated spite and malice against Trump. The hysteric-of-the-week is getting ridiculous.

  22. Jason 2018-07-18 07:04


    What is the clear and present threat to national security you are speaking of?

  23. Porter Lansing 2018-07-18 07:11

    How could Obama do anything during an election when it’s taken two years to even get indictments. All he had was prelim intel. You’re looney with Republican apology, Hickey. And quit with conflating peaceful Islam with violent ISIS. Makes you look shallow and myopic.

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

    Oh, Steve, I think I pointed out our party leaders’ failure of strict info-security protocol in my weekend post on the indictments of the 12 Russian military officers, and I suggested proper responses to prevent such breaches from happening again.

    Jason, don’t be dense. Re-watch the Putin-Trump press conference.

  25. mike from iowa 2018-07-18 07:17

    Sheila’s take on a Jonathan Chait essay and the last 2paragraphs are indeed chilling.

    Hickey, how did Russian agents work through DNC and where is your proof?

    Mitchie Poo McCTurtle knewabout the hacks and did nothing. Not true, he told Obama if he went ahead and reported the hack w/o wingnuts going along he would be accused of partisanship before the election. Whose side are you, Drumpf and McCTurtle on, Hickey?

  26. mike from iowa 2018-07-18 07:27

    Half million dollars speeches , etc etc.

    Peter Schweizer. On the Sunday shows, Schweizer said that while his research uncovered no proof of a quid pro quo between foreign interests and the 2016 Democratic frontrunner, the evidence does suggest a troubling trend.

    Troubling trends are only a crime in the fever dreams of wingnut conspiracy crazies.

  27. mike from iowa 2018-07-18 07:30

    Debate with Powers would give Powers the kind of legitimacy Putin sought with his face to face with 2 faced Drumpf.

  28. Jason 2018-07-18 07:35


    I didn’t watch it. Did Putin say he was going to attack the USA?

    I’m going to say there is no clear and present danger from Russia right now.

    If you have any evidence that contradicts that than please lay it out.

  29. Dana P 2018-07-18 09:04

    Wow, Mr Hickey. The majority of everything you spouted is a conspiracy theory. All of which has been disproven with factual evidence. (now I see why you spout ridiculous abortion info – facts don’t matter to you)

    Do I believe that there are everyday Russian citizens who want freedom and a high quality of life? YES!! But why does Putin, a proven criminal and violent foreign adversary block them from having that “dream”? And we should get along with him? He had a passenger airliner shot down. People that oppose him mysteriously end up dead. Yeah, heck of a guy.

    Mr Hickey has lost his mind.

  30. Debbo 2018-07-18 14:31

    Wow. Hickey has become a wingnut conspiracy theorist, or maybe always was. I didn’t know.

    Lots of attempts here to distract or excuse, but that’s all it is. Pootie is a murderous dictator with a team of assassins and crooks. That’s not the same as the ordinary Russian citizen. Pootie is a homophobe, misogynist, racist scum. I don’t know how anyone can like him without being the same.

    Pootie and his crew are trying to take over the US by nonviolent means– cyber attacks and other ways to subvert our electoral process specifically and democracy especially. That makes him and the nation he controls, Russia, our enemy. Again, not the same as the ordinary Russian citizen.

    It’s not complicated.

  31. Roger Cornelius 2018-07-18 15:25

    Steve Hickey lays out the old conspiracy theorizes utilized by Trump and the republicans during the 2016 presidential election.
    The thing is, Steve, all your conspiracies are just that. All if not all of your allegations have been debunked by the DOJ and some even by the White House.
    Here’s the thing, Steve of that matters to the Mueller investigation or the DOJ, they have all moved on and the discussion today is Russian spies and Trump’ corruption have taken center stage.
    When it comes to Trump’s impeachment trial there will be no “but Hillary”, “but Obama” or any other Democrat.

  32. Steve Hickey 2018-07-18 15:31

    Conspiracy theories? I stated facts.

    You folks live in a dream world if you think Trump is going down. They have found no evidence of Trump collusion and gobs of evidence against the Clinton crime family. Turn off CNN.

  33. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-07-18 15:38

    Fact or not, none of the things Hickey said refute any of the facts laid out so far about the Butina-Erickson-Johnson connection, either in my posts or in the criminal indictment and related prosecutor’s filings.

    I make no claim in any of this Butina coverage that “Trump is going down.” I also don’t watch CNN (remember, no cable TV in my house!). Steve, it appears you are the one living in a dream world, dreaming up your own strawman arguments against points I’m not making and sources I’m not using.

  34. owen reitzel 2018-07-18 15:48

    How do you know that they found no Trump collusion? Nobody but Mueller knows the answer to that. Plus nothing has been proven on the Clintons and that crap has been going on for 30 years.
    Steve, Trump is going down faster than Stormy Daniels and then America will be great again.

  35. Roger Cornelius 2018-07-18 15:59

    Using Hickey’s incredible illusions about evidence against the Clinton’s, she still isn’t under investigation by Robert Mueller or the DOJ’s Inspector General.
    When Trump faces impeachment charges, there will be no Hillary defense or Hillary did it first. It will be Trump facing off with Senate investigators and lawyers.

  36. Adam 2018-07-18 17:36

    The only story here is that South Dakota was the choice location to plant this Russian spy into the GOP system – because a.) we are so far out in the middle of nowhere that space provides a protective buffer from the competent parts of the country, b.) our radical isolationists provide significant cover from authorities and also offer the perfect substrate to sew seeds of mindless anti-liberal pro-gun delusion(s).

    The people of South Dakota’s minimal intelligence (relative to the U.S.) and weakness of character (relative to the U.S.) is what inspired Russia to pick our state as an entry point into the U.S. for covert Russian espionage. Our dumbassed state, and SD GOP, shares some responsibility in facilitating attacks upon our very own country.

    Be ASHAMED that Vladimir Putin KNOWS, way out on the other side of the world, that all the able-brained South Dakotan’s are overwhelmingly outnumbered and marginalized by dummies.

    That’s the single most constructive takeaway for ALL Americans.

  37. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-07-18 19:59

    (Don’t be pulled off track, friends. Stay on topic with Adam.)

  38. jerry 2018-07-18 21:16

    I am thinking that the dude from Iowa, Lederman, was probably in cahoots with the Russian sex kitten along with the rest of the hierarchy of the Confederate republican party of South Dakota.

  39. Jason 2018-07-18 21:17

    So Cory is calling the people of his district unintelligent. That should get you some votes.

    Adam isn’t too intelligent if he thinks she was the only one.

    So far it looks like Adam and Cory have struck out.

  40. Porter Lansing 2018-07-18 21:20

    In January 2017, Donald Trump was shown evidence that Vladimir Putin personally ordered pre-election hacking. Trump has since questioned that evidence. – NYTimes 7/18/2018

  41. jerry 2018-07-18 21:21

    How is this Adam on Comrade Rounds?

    “One of the more bizarre efforts by Republican lawmakers to explain why Donald Trump, appearing alongside Russian leader Vladimir Putin, dismissed U.S. law enforcement conclusions on Russian election tampering and appeared to embrace Putin’s version of events (and, notably, Putin’s own proposals to let Russia see the intelligence gathered in the investigation so they could, ya know, “help”) came from South Dakota Senator Mike Rounds, who offered up the theory that maybe Trump was lying so flagrantly as an attempt to, um, be sarcastic?

    “The president just looked right back at [Putin] and with the same straight face… basically sent a message: ’If you can sit here and tell me that with a straight face and that’s what it takes it to move forward in other negotiations, I most certainly can match you on this, and in fact I can stand here and say, ‘Of course you didn’t do it,’ even though we all know that [you did],’” Sen. Mike Rounds of South Dakota told reporters at the Capitol on Tuesday.
    “The reality is,” Rounds continued, expounding on his theory of Trump as a fourth-dimensional chess master, “‘I know you did it, you know you did it, and you know that I know that you did it.’ So to me, Mr. Putin tried to tell the whopper with a straight face and President Trump basically laid out, ‘You wanna play that game? Fine. I can do the same thing because we all know you did.’”

    I liked you pointing out this other Confederate republican first Cory. Now we await the other lying liar Confederate Comrade Thune and his take on the nonsense. Gwwad, how could he stay out of jail with the EB5 with this kind of jargon? Oh yeah, Benda turned up murdered…according to Larry Pressler.

  42. Jason 2018-07-18 21:23

    Of course he did Porter. Just like Obama and every President before and after him in the computer era ordered hacking of Russia and every other Country in the world.

    Do you live in a box Porter?

  43. Porter Lansing 2018-07-18 21:27

    Jason … You’re looney with Trump apology syndrome. Yes, I do live in a box.

  44. Jason 2018-07-18 21:29

    Are you saying we don’t hack the Russians Porter?

  45. Porter Lansing 2018-07-18 21:34

    The New York Times is saying that Vladimir Putin PERSONALLY ordered the theft of DNC emails. Not David Assange. Not WikiLeaks. Not 12 Army men. Putin personally ordered it. Trump was told about it over a year ago and now he’s denying it happened. Why would he deny what his intelligence tells him, Jason?

  46. Jason 2018-07-18 21:39

    The NYT is not a trusted source.

    Of course Putin ordered hacking just like Obama and Trump ordered Russian hacking. Would you like Putin to bring up the FACT we hack his Country?

  47. Porter Lansing 2018-07-18 21:42

    The NYTimes is one of the most worldwide trusted sources and has been for over a hundred years. Why would President Trump deny what his intelligence tells him, Jason?

  48. Jason 2018-07-18 21:47

    Since you have a reading comprehension problem I will dumb it down for you.

    Because Trump is smarter than you Porter. Both Trump and Putin know they hack each other. It helps neither one to get into a public argument about it.

  49. Porter Lansing 2018-07-18 21:48

    Someone is lying, Jason. Is it President Trump or is it the USA intelligence service?

  50. Porter Lansing 2018-07-18 21:51

    Putin didn’t order the hacking of USA. Putin ordered the hacking of the Dem Nat’l Committee and tried to cheat the election to help Trump. Trump knows he did it and won’t admit that he couldn’t beat Hillary without Putin’s help. Who’s lying, Jason. Trump of the USA intelligence service?

  51. Jason 2018-07-18 21:51

    It was Obama lying. My health insurance premiums didn’t go down.

    I guess you can’t comprehend the dumbed down version either.

  52. Jason 2018-07-18 21:52

    Porter is chasing his tail now.

  53. Porter Lansing 2018-07-18 21:55

    Putin didn’t hack the USA. He hacked the election and Trump knows he did. Did Trump know while it was happening? That’s a crime, Jason.

  54. Jason 2018-07-18 21:59

    Russia hacks or trys to hack the USA Governments and private entities every day Porter.

    The USA hacks or trys to hack the Russian Governments and private entities every day Porter.

    It’s beyond belief how you don’t know this.

  55. Porter Lansing 2018-07-18 22:02

    LWIY … last word is yours

  56. Debbo 2018-07-18 22:03

    I think you’ve got it pretty well sealed up now Porter.

    As Mueller keeps going, how far will he dig into the SDGOP to verify relationships to Buttina? How terrifying is that to SDakotans in DC and here in Pierre? Not necessarily due to what Mueller may uncover related to Russian spies, but basic GOP corruption that he may turn over to federal prosecutors. That must have Rounds, Thune, Noem, Michelson, Jackley and more casting about frantically for anything that vaguely resembles cover. Imagine the dirt on Gear Up, HB visas, Dakota Beef, Benda, etc. all seeing bright, sunny daylight.

    Bwahahahahahahaha!!!!! A girl can dream. 😎😎😎

  57. Dana P 2018-07-18 22:24

    Adam……… EXCELLENT! You are absolutely right.

  58. Debbo 2018-08-01 14:04

    Oh, that is sweet Mike. The rot is deep in Russpublicans.

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