The saga of Maria Butina has been surreal to say the least, and she stands accused of having played a crucial role in helping the Russian government conspire with the NRA and the Republican Party to alter the outcome of the 2016 election. But for all the controversy, Butina has never been connected directly to Donald Trump himself – until now.
All along, federal prosecutors have publicly stated their belief that Maria Butina first attempted to meet with Donald Trump in the middle of 2016. By this time he was the presumptive Republican Party nominee for President of the United States, so it made sense that she would be trying to work with him as part of her overall alleged effort at connecting the dots between the GOP, the NRA, and the Kremlin. But now a former Trump adviser is telling a very different story.
Sam Nunberg, who helped Donald Trump get his presidential campaign off the ground before ultimately suffering a falling out, is now telling Politico that Maria Butina first reached out to him in July of 2015, seeking a meeting with Trump. This would have been just a couple weeks after Trump’s campaign first launched, at a time when almost no one was viewing him as a serious candidate.
This is a big deal because it means Maria Butina was specifically trying to work with Donald Trump from the start. It’s long been documented that Butina showed up at a very early Trump campaign event and asked him a question in front of the cameras. But now we know that this was only because she couldn’t land a private meeting with him. This places even more importance on who within the Russian government was pulling her strings, and why.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report