2016 presidential election

Overstock CEO resigns due to romantic involvement with Russian agent

overstock ceo
Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne. Photo: Steven Ferdman/Getty Images

Patrick Byrne resigned as CEO of online retailer Overstock.com Thursday after the company publicly announced his relationship with admitted Russian agent Maria Butina, the New York Times reports.

The big picture: Writing in a letter to shareholders, Byrne said his disclosure "may affect and complicate all manner of business relationships." The relationship lasted from 2015 to 2018 and was mostly unknown until Overstock posted a news release last week. Byrne was involved in the federal inquiry into the 2016 presidential election that was handled separately from special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference. He said he had helped law enforcement agents with their "Clinton Investigation" and "Russia Investigation," per NYT.

Russian interference, 2020

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Americans are at each other's throats. Politically, socially and culturally, we suspect each other's motives and plain sanity. So certain are we of the other's intent to do the nation harm, some of us have joined political gangs and assaulted one another, resulting in at least 1 death.

Which is to say: Americans have played into Russian President Vladimir Putin's hands — again. It is assumed he can attack next year's elections if he so chooses, but since no outsider knows exactly how, what comes next is one of the great underlying mystery-dramas of the 2020 election campaign.