Maria Butina plea hearing set for Thursday, her spy boss Torshin missing, Putin unhappy

A U.S. judge today postponed Maria Butina's plea agreement hearing until Thursday.

Butina is expected to plead guilty of being a Russian agent who conspired with Russians and Americans to throw the election to Trump, funnel cash to the NRA and other political figures, and soften U.S. foreign policy towards Moscow. Thursday will be an important news day if this plea hearing schedule holds.

She was charged in July, and originally pleaded not guilty. The court considered her a high flight risk. She's been in jail for months.

From Reuters, on the Tuesday court hearing schedule change:

U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan did not specify a reason for the delay.

Butina was jailed awaiting trial. Moscow has labeled the case against Butina "fabricated" and called for her release.

Prosecutors have accused Butina of working with a Russian official and two U.S. citizens to try to infiltrate the NRA, which has close ties to Republican politicians including President Donald Trump, and sway Washington's policy toward Moscow.

The federal prosecutors in the case against Butina are not from the office of Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating Russia's role in the 2016 U.S. election and whether Trump's campaign conspired with Moscow.

Seen this Vladimir Putin video clip? No wonder she's flipping. The Big Boss ain't happy.

In this news clip, the Russian President says, "[Maria Butina] faces 15 years of imprisonment! For what?! When I first heard about this, I interviewed all the heads of the Russian special services. Who is that? No one knows anything about her!"

She won't incriminate "herself or anybody else," the Kremlin cited her father as saying today. I'm sure he felt free to speak his mind.

Earlier, Putin commemorated a monument of Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn, the Russian writer exiled for criticism of the former Soviet Union. Said Putin, perhaps cryptically to others in exile, "Solzhenitsyn was a true Russian who even in exile, did not allow anyone to talk disparagingly about Russia."

Maria Butina's plea hearing has been delayed until Thursday. We don't know how disparagingly she'll be willing to speak about Russia, or how honestly. Prosecutors for the U.S. will soon find out how much cooperation she's willing to give, and how much valuable information she may have to share on various investigations involving the President, and others.

Anyone seen Butina's longtime spy handler Torshin lately? No?

Wonder when he'll show up dead.

In related news, today Paul Erickson's attorney William Hurd gave a statement in response to questions about Butina's plea deal with federal prosecutors.

"Paul Erickson is a good American. He has never done anything to hurt our country and never would."

Good luck with that.

And keep an eye on that Rockefeller heir.