Item One: Marina Butina “pleaded guilty Thursday to conspiring with a senior Russian official to infiltrate the conservative movement in the United States as an agent for the Kremlin from 2015 until her arrest in July 2017.”
Butina admitted to working with an American political operative and under the direction of a former Russian senator and deputy governor of Russiaâ€™s central bank to forge bonds with officials at the National Rifle Association, conservative leaders, and 2016 U.S. presidential candidates, including Donald Trump, whose rise to the Oval Office she presciently predicted to her Russian contact.
â€œGuilty,â€ Butina said with a light accent in entering her plea with U.S. District Judge Tanya S. Chutkan at a hearing Thursday morning in federal court in Washington.
As part of her plea, Butina admitted seeking to establish and use â€œunofficial lines of communication with Americans having influence over U.S. politicsâ€ for the benefit of the Russian government, through a person fitting the description of sanctioned Russian central banker Alexander Torshin, prosecutor Erik Kenerson said.
Item Two: The Daily Beast reports that Robert Mueller is looking at connections between Trump and the Middle East.Â Â “In court filings that are set to drop in early 2019, prosecutors will begin to unveil Middle Eastern countriesâ€™ attempts to influence American politics, three sources familiar with this side of the probe told The Daily Beast.”
I think there’s a large probability that we’re going to learn Trump’s foreign policy is based entirely on being obsequitous to people (Russians, Saudis) to whom he personally owes money and favors, and being an asshole to everyone else.
Item Three: Speaking of asshole, Trump cancels White House holiday party for the press.
Item Four: Young people are bailing out of conservative evangelicalism. Evangelicalism may cease to be a political factor by 2024.