Who is Patrick Byrne?
Patrick Byrne, former CEO of Overstock.com, is being investigated for advising President Trump on overturning the election and for inciting the January 6th attack on the Capitol.
Byrne was romantically involved with convicted Russian spy, Maria Butina, who developed a plan to influence Republicans, served prison time, and was deported to Russia in 2019.
Byrne was still in a relationship with Butina when he met with Trump in the Oval Office, spoke at the Jan 6 rally, and backed the Cyber Ninja Arizona audit.
Shortly after the Jan 6 attack, Bryne sent Butina millions of dollars and backed her campaign for Russian Parliament in Putin’s Party.
In 2022, Butina was sanctioned by the West for her official role in the Russian invasion of Ukraine and spreading Russian lies about Ukrainian casualties.
Byrne’s Ongoing Relationship with Russian Agent
During the same time period that Byrne met with the President in the Oval Office and spoke at the January 6th rally, he was maintaining his relationship with a convicted Russian spy. Shortly after January 6, he sent her millions of dollars.
Byrne met and started a romantic relationship with Maria Butina in 2015. They met at the annual Freedom Fest in Las Vegas, where Byrne and then Presidential candidate Donald Trump was a speaker.
Russian Agent Maria Butina
Butina was convicted in 2018 on the charges that she acted “as an agent of Russia inside the United States by developing relationships with U.S. persons and infiltrating organizations having influence in American politics, for the purpose of advancing the interests of the Russian Federation.”
Starting in 2015, Butina worked at the direction of high-level officials in the Russian Government and the Central Bank of Russia to develop relationships and infiltrate organizations such as the National Rifle Association and the Republican Party.
One of the pieces of evidence released at her trial was that she even developed a written plan on how she could use her access to convince key Republican leaders to support the Putin regime and Russian geopolitical priorities. Butina was romantically engaged with multiple influential conservatives, including Bryne, at the same time.
She pled guilty in 2018 to acting as a foreign agent of the Russian Federation in the United States. She was held in a Federal Correctional Institution in Florida until she was released and deported back to Moscow in 2019. Once their affair was discovered, Overstock’s board and investors called on Byrne to step down.
Despite her conviction as a spy and admission of guilt, Byrne continued to maintain his relationship with Butina.
After being deported back to Russia, Butina began working for RT, a news organization promoting the Kremlin’s agenda. She then ran for the Duma as a member of Putin’s Party.
Byrne continued to stay in contact with Butina after her return to Russia, and sent her millions of dollars to support her run for Russian Parliament.
In 2022, she was added to the US sanction list for her role in supporting the Russian invasion and spreading false information about Ukraine. Butin’s role in RT as a propagandist and her effort to discredit Putin allies and political prisoners during that time contributed to the decision to sanction her as well.
Byrne’s involvement with January 6th
Patrick Byrne, a staunch supporter of former President Donald Trump and former CEO of Overstock, was involved in key meetings leading up to the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol. Byrne also spoke at the January 6 rally, addressing the crowd before they attacked the Capitol.
In December 2020, Byrne joined attorney Sydney Powell, attorney Rudy Giuliani, General Michael Flynn, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, former White House administrator Emily Newman, and former President Donald Trump in a secret Oval Office meeting in which the group attempted to convince the President to find evidence to overturn the election by whatever means necessary, including ordering the military to seize state voting machines.
Though the group was not on Trump’s private schedule, they entered the White House for an off-the-record meeting with the President, according to White House Counsel, Pat Cipollone’s sworn testimony.
Byrne is expected to testify before the January 6th Committee on his role in events leading up to the attack.
Byrne Pushed Election Fraud Accusations
In December 2021, Byrne spent $1 million to support The American Project, a nonprofit organization led by Emily Newman, a former advisor to President Trump, and Rob Weaver, a leader of the pro-Trump group Jericho March.
The American Project continued to push election fraud theories even after January 6th, spending over $3 million on the Cyber Ninja election audit in Arizona, which Byrne helped fund. Undermining confidence in American election integrity is part of the Russian disinformation strategy.
Making a Profit Off Election Fraud and other Conspiracies
Byrne has promoted election fraud conspiracies in order to raise money for himself and his chosen causes.
In his blog and self-published book, The Deep Rig, Byrne promoted election fraud theories and charged subscribers $5 a month to view his “insider knowledge” on these issues.
Byrne produced a movie pushing election fraud theories and charged a streaming fee of up to $500 per view. The movie was directed by BabyQ, a QAnon conspiracist, and premiered in June 2021 at Dream City Church in Arizona. The premier featured speakers such as Joe Flynn, brother of General Mike Flynn, who “exhorted the crowd to take action.”
In addition to election conspiracies, Byrne has actively promoted anti-vaccination misinformation and has even joined the “Reawaken America” tour with General Flynn to speak out against the vaccine. Tickets for the tour ranged from $250 to $500.00.
Byrne was the CEO of “Defending the Republic” which was founded by Sydney Powell with the purpose of “legal defense to protect the integrity of U.S. elections.” However, the funds raised were reported to have been used for Powell’s personal legal bills. Byrne was also a defendant in the defamation suit filed by Dominion in which he falsely accused the voting machines supplier of manipulating votes and rigging elections in cities where their system was not even used. Byrne also repeated unproven claims that Dominion was founded to rig elections for former Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez, who died in 2013.