The US Justice Department on Monday charged a Russian national, Mariia Butina, also known as Maria, with conspiring against the United States as a secret agent.
Here are some facts to takeaways from the court documents
1. Russians sought back channels into the US government
Maria and her mentor, Alexander Torshin, "took steps to establish relationships with American politicians in order to establish private, or as she called them, 'back channel' lines of communication," an FBI affidavit filed in court says.
"These lines could be used by the Russian Federation to penetrate the US national decision-making apparatus to advance the agenda of the Russian Federation."
Leading up to the 2016 election, Maria sought to introduce Russians to Americans. She talked about posing as an intermediary herself between the Russian government and powerful Americans.
She also recommended in September 2016 to 2 Americans that they should work to form "an advisers team on Russia for a new president."
After Donald Trump's election in 2016, Butina and Torshin discussed their predictions for secretary of state, and whether that was good for "our people," the affidavit stated.
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