Here’s the money trail from Maria Butina to Vladimir Putin to Donald Trump

Indicted Russian political operative Maria Butina has connections to too many Republican politicians to list – but how is she specifically tied to Donald Trump? As the old adage goes, follow the money. Based on the various details that are now surfacing, it turns out it’s not that difficult to connect the money trail from Butina to the Kremlin to Trump.

Maria Butina’s political efforts in the United States were being at least partially financed by Russian oligarch Konstantin Nikolaev, according to her own Senate testimony. Nikolaev and former Putin adviser Alexander Voloshin jointly own a company called American Ethane. Last year Donald Trump went out of his way to highlight American Ethane during a public event. Based on his track record, Trump only highlights companies if he has some kind of personal financial incentive for doing so.

Considering how deeply Trump is connected to the Kremlin, none of the above comes as a shock. What may be most surprising here is that it’s so easy to follow the money from Maria Butina, through a Putin lackey, to Donald Trump. Just as Butina was largely carrying out her Kremlin political operation in the United States in plain sight, the people calling the shots weren’t being particularly careful about hiding any of what they were doing either. But the biggest revelation here is that Butina appears to have already given up quite a bit of valuable information to the Senate Intel Committee, which has generally been coordinating its efforts with Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

This is all before getting to Maria Butina’s connections to the NRA, which was heavily involved in the Trump campaign, or the fact that Butina met with Donald Trump Jr at a conference during the 2016 election cycle. The connections just keep surfacing, making more clear than ever that Donald Trump is a Kremlin puppet, and that his campaign was a Kremlin political operation.

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