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Seth Abramson @SethAbramson
, 10 tweets, 2 min read Read on Twitter
One big question I have is whether Trump had met Maria Butina prior to July 2015 and knew she was going to ask him at FreedomFest about his views on Russian sanctions—which gave him a chance to publicly make an assurance to Putin. He'd met Butina's boss just a few months earlier.
2/ Shortly after Trump publicly assured Putin that, post-candidacy announcement, he still opposed all sanctions on Russia—and Trump had previously claimed that Putin tended to watch him whenever he was on TV—Sater shows up with the Rozov tower deal we all know so much about now.
3/ Rozov had been working with Sater for years—*and Sater had been trying to get Trump a Moscow tower that whole time*—then Rozov *suddenly* changed his mind about a Trump deal mere *weeks* after Kremlin agent Maria Butina got Trump to publicly affirm his opposition to sanctions.
4/ But here's the thing: Trump had shortly before FreedomFest met Butina's handler—Kremlin agent Alex Torshin—and the indictment against Butina says that she and Torshin were in regular contact about how to advance Kremlin interests through GOP politicians. So it's *super* fishy.
5/ There's no question Torshin told Butina to ask Trump about sanctions at FreedomFest—that's just universally presumed—but the real question is, how did Trump know to call on her? Why was he ready with a *confident* position on sanctions when he had no foreign policy agenda yet?
6/ In July 2015, Trump was *9+ months* from issuing his *first* major foreign policy speech as a POTUS candidate—that is, a speech comprehensively laying out a foreign policy vision—so how did he come to confidently take a *historically* pro-Russia view on sanctions in July 2015?
7/ It's important to add that Trump met Torshin at an *NRA event*, and that the Kremlin was in good with the NRA brass by 2015. Even if Torshin didn't talk sanctions directly with Trump—though he *may well have*—is it possible NRA officials acted as Trump-Kremlin interlocutors?
8/ All I know is that it's a pretty straight shot:

1. Trump meets Torshin.
2. Trump calls on Torshin's protege at FreedomFest.
3. Trump tells her opposes all sanctions on Russia.
4. Rozov changes his mind about doing a deal with Trump.

And all this happened in under six months.
9/ So now Butina looks like she's about to plead guilty in her DC case. Rachel Maddow hypothesized today that the case might end in a spy swap with the Kremlin, but I'm skeptical of that. Butina has a *lot* of information about contacts the Trumps (not just Sr.) had with Torshin.
10/ And that's the cherry on top: *while* the Rozov deal is pending and Don Jr. is working on it, Jr. *meets with Torshin at an NRA event* and then *lies* about it (both the meeting and—later—what they discussed). So there's a whole narrative here that stinks to high heaven. /end
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