[UPDATE: A federal judge has sentenced Butina to a term of 18 months.]
As Maria Butina awaits sentencing on conspiracy charges, the feds have released a redacted version of the document where she laid out her plot to influence the Republican Party, seeking to make it more friendly toward Russia.
The “Diplomacy Project” document (embedded below) was written by Butina in March 2015. It’s a fascinating artifact, capturing a young Russian in America collaborating with a top official back in Moscow (then-central banker Alexander Torshin) and a love-struck American (Paul Erickson) to forge a back-channel between the Kremlin and top GOP leaders and influencers.
As described in the sentencing memo that the U.S. government submitted, arguing for an 18-month prison sentence for Butina, the document lays out Butina’s plan to “use connections she had made at the Gun Rights Organization” — the NRA — “to attempt to create [an] unofficial communication channel with the next U.S. presidential administration….”
The redactions made by the government are so obvious, at times, to be amusing:
“It is highly likely that the US [XREDACTEDX] Party (the [XX]P) will gain full control of governing the country as a result of 2016 presidential elections,” Butina writes in reference to the Republican Party or GOP.
Butina’s take on the NRA is equally easy to spot through the black lines:
“The [XREDACTEDX] plays a central role in the [XX]P and exerts influence on it. The [XXX] is the biggest sponsor of the US Congressional elections; it also sponsors the and other [XX]P events. The causes for this are economic – The [XXX] includes all the US arms manufactures and the majority of the biggest foreign arms manufacturers as well. To take part in [XXX] activities companies are charged a minimum fee of $1,000,000 USD annually.”
Butina asked her handlers back home for $125,000 to sponsor the project; the government’s sentencing memo suggests her initiative was “supported, at least in part.”
Butina emphasized that, for carrying out informal diplomacy, the window of time before the 2016 election was critical — “After the election, conducting negotiations on that level will be extremely problematic,” she wrote.
Her goal, she added, was simple: “to have constant contact with the [XX]P” — the GOP.
Read the full document here: