>> Maria Butina, the 29 year old accused of being a Russian agent had wider high level contacts in Washington than previously known. Reuters exclusively reporting she took part in meetings with top level officials at the US Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department. Those contacts coming before she began forging her own ties in US political circles, while allegedly working as an agent of the Kremlin.
Reuters reporter, Sarah Lynch.>> We now know that Maria Butina did not just meet with American politicians that she posted photos of on her Facebook page. But she also traveled to the United States in April of 2015 with a top official from a Russian central bank, and met with the second most powerful person at the Federal Reserve, Stanley Fischer.
She also was in a meeting with Nathan Sheets, who was a top official at the Treasury Department.>> The Russian Central Bank official is Alexander Torshin, who has close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Butina served as Torshin's interpreter at various Washington events. The Treasury Department in April imposed sanctions on Torshin and a number of other Russian businessmen and government officials in Putin's inner circle.
The meetings with Fischer and Sheet were arranged by the Center for National Interest, a Washington foreign policy think tank that often advocates pro-Russia views.>> But now, in light of what prosecutors are alleging about the motives of Mr. Torshin and Butina, we have to question about why they wanted this meeting, what they may have been trying to accomplish in getting it, and what role the Center for National Interest may have played in all of this.
>> Federal prosecutors have accused Butina of conspiring with two American citizens and a top Russian official, believed to be Torshin, to influence US policy toward Russia and infiltrate the National Rifle Association. A judge last week ordered Butina to be jailed until her trial, after prosecutors argued she could flee the United States.
Butina has pleaded not guilty. She's due in court for another status hearing on Wednesday.