Report: Accused Russian Spy Maria Butina Met With U.S. Treasury, Fed Officials

Maria Butina, the Russian woman accused of working as a secret Kremlin agent in the U.S., took part in meetings between a visiting Russian official and two top officials at the U.S. Treasury in 2015, Reuters reports. The meetings raise new questions about the scope of Butina’s alleged efforts to make U.S. policy friendlier toward the Kremlin. Sources familiar with the situation told Reuters the meetings included Stanley Fischer, the Fed vice chairman at the time, and then-Treasury undersecretary for international affairs Nathan Sheets. Butina reportedly accompanied the Russian Central Bank deputy governor at the time, Alexander Torshin, in the meetings, which focused on U.S.-Russian economic relations. Federal prosecutors say Butina conspired with two Americans and a Russian official close to Vladimir Putin to infiltrate a gun rights group widely believed to be the National Rifle Association, though she was not previously known to have been involved in such high-level meetings. The meetings were reportedly arranged by the Washington-based Center for the National Interest, a foreign policy think tank that often espouses pro-Russia views and also hosted one of Donald Trump’s first foreign policy addresses ahead of the 2016 election.