If what you already know about the FBI’s investigation into President Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia has you wondering what can come next, “make sure you are sitting down because it’s about to get worse,” said Patrick Byrne, the philanthropist and CEO of the mega online retail chain Overstock.com.
Byrne revealed never published details about his intimate relationship with the Russian gun right’s activist and libertarian, Maria Butina, who is now serving out her sentence after pleading guilty in 2018 to working as a foreign agent in the U.S. without registering.
In an interview several weeks ago, Byrne recounted first meeting Butina at Freedom Fest 2015. He described the relationship that developed between the two and revealed that he had initiated contact in July, 2015 with the FBI after his first meeting with Butina. He also disclosed that he met twice with Justice Department attorneys in April, 2019 giving a total of seven hours of interviews on the separate occasions. A source directly familiar with the interviews, confirmed those meetings took place.
Butina’s lawyer, Robert Driscoll, also confirmed the relationship between Byrne and Butina. Driscoll stated that he also had relayed the information to the FBI and prosecutors earlier during his trial, and asked repeatedly about any Brady material -exculpatory information – that the bureau may have collected from Byrne on Butina, to no avail. The bureau denied it had any information regarding Byrne and Butina’s relationship, said Driscoll.
On Thursday, Driscoll sent a letter to United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut John Durham, who was appointed by Attorney General William Barr to investigate the FBI’s handling of the Russia investigation; Inspector General Michael Horowitz, who is conducting an investigation into the bureau’s origins of the Trump probe and Corey Amundson, with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Professional Responsibility.