Judge orders alleged Russian agent Maria Butina jailed


Butina, 29, was arrested on Sunday and appeared before a magistrate in Washington on Monday, according to the United States justice department.

She said people were sitting with calculators and watches to time the arrest of the 29-year-old Russian student in Washington in order to best minimise the success of the Trump-Putin Summit.

He and the Central Bank didn't respond to requests for comment about Butina's arrest.

Federal Bureau of Investigation agents served a search warrant on Butina's residence in April, her lawyer, Robert Neil Driscoll, said in court Monday, and he insisted that Butina "has been offering to cooperate with the government the entire time".

The 29-year-old told a Russian official she must remain "incognito" and keep everything "quiet and careful" the month before the 2016 USA election, according to messages allegedly uncovered by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Her lawyer, Robert Driscoll, has said she did not work as a covert Russian agent. They both met briefly with Donald Trump Jr.at the 2016 NRA convention in Louisville, Kentucky, and Torshin reportedly sat at his table.

Butina told the Senate Intelligence Committee that she began a romantic relationship with Erickson, people familiar with her testimony said, and investigators believed she may have meant to go to Erickson's home state of South Dakota before she was arrested. "She poses with toy pistols, while you are being published with real ones".

Butina, a Russian national, was charged with conspiracy and acting illegally as a foreign agent in the US.

The 29-year-old is alleged to have been in contact with Russian intelligence officials and spoke to wealthy Russian oligarchs to fund her trip to America, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

If the U.S. was really anxious about what Butina was doing then it could have been passed on to Russian Federation to investigate or been discussed on the sidelines of the summit.

She is suspected of gathering intelligence on US officials and political organizations and working to establish back-channel lines of communications for the Kremlin.

It is not mentioned in the indictment, but Helson's affidavit cited a 2015 email in which Butina told "U.S. Person 1" that "Political Party 1 " would likely obtain control over the U.S. government after the 2016 elections, that the party had a central role in the "Gun Rights Organization" and that the unnamed gun organization was "the largest sponsor of the elections to the U.S. congress, as well as a spnosor of the CPAC conference", an annual conservative political gathering.

Butina was likely in contact with the Russian Federal Security Service, known as FSB, throughout her time in the U.S., prosecutors said.

Court papers do not name the individual or the special interest group.

The 29-year-old former American University graduate student was set to appear for a preliminary hearing in the US District Court for the District of Columbia this afternoon.

"This happened with the obvious task of minimising the positive effect" of this week's Helsinki summit between Russian President Vladimir Putin and USA leader Donald Trump, foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told reporters.

The Butina case was not brought by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.