According to a court filing in the case of convicted Russian spy Maria Butina, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker had a previously unreported second interaction with the Russian operative on the day he announced his bid for president.
The GOP governor acknowledged in July that he briefly spoke with accused foreign agent Maria Butina and had his photo taken with her and a Russian official at a National Rifle Association convention in April 2015.
The document indicated Butina considered Walker to have the best shot at winning the presidential election, which she conveyed to a Russian official two days after the governor’s campaign launch.
“After recounting Political Candidate 1’s [Walker’s] speech, the defendant reported that she had a ‘short personal contact’ with Political Candidate 1, with whom she had had previous personal contact, as well as one of his three advisors in matters of international politics,” the filing by Assistant U.S. Attorney Erik Kenerson says.
Before and after the governor’s speech, people had the opportunity to speak briefly with Walker or shake his hand, but his spokesman indicated nothing more substantial would have occurred:
“The government submitted this filing to show that she makes contradictory statements involving what is clearly a ridiculous version of events," Walker spokesman Brian Reisinger said in a statement. "This was an event where hundreds of people could have found an opportunity to shake hands at the rope-line or other chance moments."
"The governor has no memory of any interaction, and there were no meetings or gatherings before or after. Beforehand he was with his family preparing for a speech he gave without any notes, and afterward he sat on a keg of Miller Lite for a short break before doing a live TV interview.”
Butina was charged with attempting to interfere in a U.S. election as a foreign agent.
Image credit: Our American Revival / Maria Butina Facebook