Accused Russian agent Elena Branson assigned to a politician: Tulsi Gabbard
Tulsi Gabbard, a former Democratic congresswoman from Hawaii and the 2020 presidential black horse candidate, has long been confused US officials and observers with her seems inexplicable pro-Russian positions. And a new development this week will surely strengthen half joking half true that Gabbard is a “Russian Content”; As it turns out, her campaign took money from one person.
That agent – Russian-American dualist Elena Branson, also known as Elena Chernykh – is accused of illegally promoting pro-Russian policies in the United States for nearly a decade, at the direction of officials top Kremlin official, which is not registered under the Foreign Agents Registry Act (FARA), under a criminal complaint Federal prosecutors filed this week in the Southern District of New York.
Yet in all her time campaigning for Russian causes, she’s only given money to one federal candidate: Gabbard.
According to the Federal Election Commission file, Elena Branson donated twice in 2019 to Gabbard’s presidential campaign. Records link the donation to Branson’s old address at a million dollar apartment on Central Park West. However, the commercial banker listed her occupation as “unemployed”. (Branson has lived in the US for decades and holds US citizenship, so donations are legal.)
While the total of those donations isn’t huge — a whopping $59.95 — they raise questions about why an alleged Russian agent, tasked with collecting attracted the support of US politicians, did not support Gabbard and only Gabbard.
According to the Ministry of Justice Press ReleaseBranson, who fled the United States last year and is still big, has ties to the Kremlin’s top brass, and “has corresponded with Putin himself.”
“At the direction of the Russian government, she led a years-long campaign to identify the next generation of American leaders, hone channels of communication, and shape American policy in favor of foreign countries. Russian target,” FBI Assistant Director Michael J. Driscoll said in a press release.
Of course, Gabbard is a longtime favorite of the Russian propaganda machine. She hired an alleged Russian spy in her election campaign, and her endorsement of Putin was successful political officials and observers equal beyond the standard for years — perhaps most famously for her support of Russia’s intervention in Syria while protecting dictator Bashar al-Assad.
That strange pattern continues even after Gabbard leaves office in 2021. This year, as Putin prepares to invade Ukraine, Gabbard likens Russian speaking pointsurged the Biden Administration to ensure that Ukraine would never join NATO – a longstanding request of the Kremlin.
Russia seems to have responded. For example, when Gabbard announced his 2020 aspirations, many websites helped Russia interfere in the 2016 US presidential election. come to her. Her campaign also received thousands of dollars from some influential Russian supporters in the United States.
The lawsuit against Branson, however, may offer another clue: The alleged spy conducted an off-the-books lobbying campaign against officials in Gabbard’s home state of Hawaii, related to the name of a state park. That campaign eventually brought up allegations of conspiracy to act as an unregistered foreign agent against Branson.
According to an FBI agent’s sworn statement, the lobbying project involved communicating with a member of Congress—an unidentified “Representative-1.”
At the time, the lawsuit said, Branson coordinated with Russian diplomats to block a local proposal to rename “Fortress Elizabeth of Russia,” a former Russian military structure from the 18th century. 19th century on the island of Kauai.
Some residents and activists want to restore the fort’s Hawaiian name, a move that would literally wipe “Russia” off the map. However, according to the complaint, Branson led the Kremlin’s resistance, “by providing Hawaiian officials with messages from Russian officials and by organizing a trip for Hawaiian officials.” to Moscow to meet with high-ranking officials of the Russian Government.
Complaint said this violated federal lobbying law, as Branson was never registered with the Justice Department as an agent of the Russian government. She also never reports work.
The FBI agent’s affidavit cites an email that the Kauai County councilwoman Felicia Cowden was forwarded to Branson in 2019, between Cowden and “an individual employed in the office of a member of the United States House of Representatives (Representative-1).”
In the email, as quoted in the affidavit, Cowden asked the employee if the Representative would like to meet with “a special group of people related to Russian diplomacy.” The email informed staff that the team would include Branson and “two diplomats from the Russian embassy in Washington DC,” the affidavit said.
That email was dated February 7, 2019. Nine days later, Branson made his first donation to Gabbard, for an odd amount of $49.95.
It’s unclear if Gabbard attended the meeting, or if she or her office had any direct contact with Branson or the Russians. However, a few months later, Branson organized a trip to Russia for a group of local Kauai officials, including Cowden, where they met with Kremlin officials.
The complaint includes a copy of a thank you card Cowden allegedly sent Branson “for welcoming people from Kauai.” Copies included a handwritten Post-it, on which Cowden wrote, “I am not coming or being contacted because I am being followed. I felt it was wrong to participate in that way.” A second note on the back says, “It’s on the American side.”
The name of the park has not been changed, and remains a matter of dispute.
Branson’s case is not entirely novel. Russia has long relied on the expatriate diaspora in the United States and around the globe to make connections and promote policies in Russia’s favor. Maria Butina In 2018 he was famously accused of illegally operating as a Russian agent in the United States, after years of infiltrating influential GOP circles before and after the 2016 US presidential election. case, Butina tried to arrange a meeting between President Donald Trump’s incumbent candidate and Russian President Vladimir Putin, prosecutors said.
A Gabbard spokeswoman released a statement saying the former congresswoman was not aware of Branson’s donations until contacted by The Daily Beast.
“Congresswoman Gabbard’s campaign has received thousands of donations over the years, so she doesn’t know about Branson’s small contributions ($10 and $49.95) to Tulsi Now, nor about Tulsi Now. was unaware of any interactions with her,” the statement said. The spokesperson also claimed Gabbard was “not familiar with any parks or forts or any other issues surrounding this.” (The state historic park is located in Gabbard County, and at least one local activist group claims to have prepare a petition on the matter for Gabbard’s office.)
A spokesperson said that in light of the allegations against Branson, Gabbard planned to donate the donations to a charity.
“Despite the fact that Branson’s contributions are very small, in principle Branson’s donations should be donated to a charity that supports veterans, as it looks like Branson may be in the running acts as a foreign representative,” the spokesperson added, adding that Gabbard’s team had not been contacted.
The spokesperson also claimed Gabbard was not Branson’s only target, asserting that Branson has also contributed to a number of other Democratic candidates and committees. However, this is not true, but concerns another Elena Branson, who lives in California and has confirmed to The Daily Beast that those other donations are hers — and she has not been subject to a criminal complaint. for acting like an unregistered Kremlin agent.
https://www.thedailybeast.com/accused-russian-agent-elena-branson-gave-to-one-politician-tulsi-gabbard?source=articles&via=rss Accused Russian agent Elena Branson assigned to a politician: Tulsi Gabbard