Walker Met With Accused Russian Agent
Maria Butina, charged by federal prosecutors, posed for photo with Walker during his run for president.
A federal complaint unsealed Monday charged Maria Butina with working on behalf of the Russian Federation to “exploit personal connections with U.S. personas having influence in American politics in an effort to advance the interests of the Russian Federation.” Butina is the only person named in the complaint.
The charges against her were filed Saturday, the day after the U.S. Department of Justice charged 12 members of the Russian military with conducting “large-scale cyber operations” targeting Hillary Clinton‘s presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee in an effort to influence the 2016 election.
In a blog post attributed to Butina from April 2015, she posted a picture of herself with Walker, writing that she “did not hear any aggression towards our country, the president or my compatriots.” She also posted a picture from July 2015 taken from the crowd at Walker’s official presidential campaign kickoff July 13, 2015.
Walker spokesman Brian Reisinger said the photo in question was one of thousands publicized in 2015 by Walker’s group “Our American Revival,” suggesting the interaction with Butina at the GOP event in question was nothing out of the ordinary.
“Gov. Walker never had a meeting,” Reisinger said. “Like other speakers at the event, Gov. Walker appeared in an atrium area while waiting to deliver his remarks, where event attendees had the chance to say hello. There were thousands of people at the convention and many of them approached the governor and asked to say hello and take a photo with him — just as people did at events today in Eau Claire, Sussex and Marinette.”
Butina’s connections to another Wisconsin politician were far more pronounced.
Listen to the WPR report here.
Walker Had 2015 Encounter With Woman Charged In Russia Probe was originally published by Wisconsin Public Radio.