maria butina and david keene
Maria Butina Facebook

Even Russian honeypots need a side hustle! And when sexxxy Russian spy Maria Butina wasn't busy arranging a love connection between her favorite oligarchs and the God-bothering gunhumpers, she was hustling to earn extra cash importing five million barrels of Russian jet fuel. Oh, you waited tables in grad school to make rent? SUCKERS!!!

It was a simple plan.

  • Step 1: Using her contacts in the Russian coffee bean trade, Butina would source seventy thousand tons of Russian jet fuel for import to the US.
  • Step 2: Former NRA President David Keene and his wife Donna would supply the buyer.
  • Step 3: Profit!

No, but seriously, WHAT THE FUCK?

The Times reports that in the spring of 2017, former NRA head David Keene and his wife, lobbyist Donna Keene, got a line on someone looking to buy a shit ton of jet fuel. Why would the couple turn to a 28-year-old Russian "grad student" to find them a fuel dealer? Not clear!

In March 2017, emails show, the couple met a man in Virginia who said he was seeking five million barrels of jet fuel. He offered to pay a finder's fee of $1 million if they connected him with a Russian refinery.

In a series of terse, businesslike emails, Ms. Keene enlisted Ms. Butina's help. On April 15, 2017, she pressed the young Russian to secure a "soft corporate offer" from Gazprom for the fuel. "I will NOT reveal the source at this point," Ms. Keene wrote.

Instead, Ms. Butina responded that she could cobble together needed fuel from a number of smaller refineries. She also pushed for a payment of $25,000 as a "good faith gesture" for potential suppliers.

Sadly, their can't fail plan to buy up "nearly double what all of Russia's refineries export in a month" ... FAILED. Womp womp!

After Butina asked for "good faith" cash, the first deal fell through. Undaunted, Donna Keene put Butina in touch with wingnut real-estate investor Roger Pol, who was holding himself out as a fuel broker despite never having done a fuel deal in his life. Butina's boyfriend Paul Erickson described Pol as a "tough, crotchety, sixty-ish divorcee who has spent his life in various energy transactions but now seems intent on using his small wealth to pursue age-appropriate women of a certain flair."

Checks out! Because if the cast of Three's Company decided to become international oil dealers, it would go down just like this!

Turns out Chrissy Butina was an even worse fuel broker than she was a spy.

It did not take an expert to spot serious flaws in the plan.

"I knew they didn't have any clue, because there's no port in the world that could hold the amount of oil they were saying they could sell," said Yoni Wiss, the Israeli-American who briefly met with Ms. Butina and Mr. Erickson in June 2017.

Keene played matchmaker a third time in August in 2017, but the potential partners thought Butina and Erickson were running a scam, and turned them in to the FBI, who said, YEAH, NO SHIT!

No, not really. Those guys are Deep State, so they play it close to the vest. But speaking of shit ...

How you livin', NRA?

Remember back in May when the NRA shoved their entire leadership structure aside and made Ollie Fucking North(!) the NRA president? At the time, David Corn wondered in Mother Jones if Maria Butina's recent arrest had anything to do with the apparent chaos in Ammo Land.

This changing of the guard—and how it happened—was odd. For fifteen years, the NRA leadership had followed a specific pattern: an officer was elected by the board to serve two consecutive annual terms as second vice president, then two as first vice president, and, finally, two as president. But the [incumbent president Peter] Brownell-to-North transition broke this orderly process. North at the time was serving in neither vice president position. And his ascension was a surprise—even to North. The day of the move, North told NRATV, "I didn't expect this to be happening…This was very sudden."

UH HUH. Two weeks after the FBI raided Butina's apartment, the entire board decides they're too busy washing their hair? They need a guy with questionable ethics and nine lives, STAT!

That'll do it! No word on whether Fawn Hall will be installed as the new recording secretary.

And, lookie here! It's Butina, Brownell, and Dipshit Jr. at an NRA dinner in 2016! Helluva coincidence, no?

To date, the NRA has copped to receiving $2,512.85 in illegal Russian funding. But color us highly skeptical that the death merchants are shitting their kevlar panties over a couple thousand dollars of funny money.

Is the NRA going down in a Russian fireball? Dunno, but we'll drink to that! За здоровье!

[New Yorker / Mother Jones]

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Liz Dye

Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.


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