Carter had previously noted details of a romantic relationship between Byrne and Maria Butina, a Russian national who is now serving time in a U.S. jail for conspiracy to act as an unregistered agent of a foreign state. He also told Cuomo, "It was always clear she's on her way or was on her way to be president of Russian Federation", adding "She's a super talented girl".
The FBI, according to Byrne, greenlit and "encouraged" him to build a relationship with Butina, which he did - saying he would be meeting with the young grad student every six weeks and discussing philosophy and politics with her.
"I will be sitting on a beach in South America shortly, and that is all I want to think about", he told Forbes. On the other hand, Overstock's stock price plunged more than 40% in the days after Byrne first revealed his role in this alleged intel operation to Carter. "It was the third time in my life I helped the Men in Black". He claimed that starting in 2015 he'd been an unwitting source of information for "political espionage conducted against Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump (and to a lesser degree, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz)". In a statement from Byrne, the embattled founder states "In July I came forward to a small set of journalists regarding my involvement in certain government matters".
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FILE - In this November 6, 2007, file photo Patrick Byrne, President and CEO of Overstock.com is reflected on a large television screen while being interviewed at the headquarters for supporters of school vouchers in Salt Lake City.
Byrne wrote last month that these three companies are ones "in which the word "trillions" shows up in discussions" - and it was a theme he continued in his resignation letter. "I now plan on leaving things to the esteemed Department of Justice (which I have doubtless already angered enough by going public) and disappearing for some time".
Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) called for the prison release of convicted Russian spy Maria Butina and insisted that former FBI Director James Comey should be jailed in her stead. "Of all the disturbing revelations about the deep state in the last 2 years, I find this one most disturbing".
"While I believe that I did what was necessary for the good of the country, for the good of the firm, I am in the sad position of having to sever ties with Overstock", Byrne wrote in a letter to shareholders Thursday.
Byrne went on to say that Overstock should continue to push farther with blockchain technology.