On Wednesday, federal prosecutors said they had uncovered evidence that Butina was living with "U.S. Person 1", though she appeared to "treat that relationship as simply a necessary aspect of her activities", according to court documents. She also had contact information for people who investigators believe were employees of Russia's Federal Security Services, or FSB, the successor intelligence agency to the KGB.
The charges against Butina were obtained on Saturday, court records show, the day after the Justice Department revealed an indictment against 12 Russian intelligence officers for allegedly conspiring to hack Democratic politicians in 2016.
The indictment accuses Butina of conspiring with the unnamed "Russian official" to "infiltrate organizations active in American politics in an effort to advance the interests of the Russian federation".
Robert Driscoll, an attorney for Butina, said in a statement to the Washington Post that she "intends to defend her rights vigorously and looks forward to clearing her name".
Kremlin-backed Russian television calls her the "ideal victim" of anti-Russian hysteria in the U.S.
In seeking her detention, prosecutors said Butina's "legal status in the United States is predicated on deception".More news: Boeing Gets $3.9B Contract for New Air Force One Jets
Butina was arrested over the weekend amid signs that she planned to leave the country.
"Prosecutors noted her last tie to the District of Columbia - her apartment lease - ends on July 31, and there were boxes packed in it consistent with a forthcoming move at the time of her arrest on July 15".
Those steps, according to the document, included applying for a visa that would allow her to travel to and from the US; looking into getting a moving truck and purchasing moving boxes; making a wire transfer of $3,500 to an account in Russian Federation; packing up her belongings, and leaving a letter telling her landlord she and US Person 1 would end their lease by the end of July.
"The concern that Butina poses a risk of flight is only heightened due to her connection to suspected Russian intelligence operatives", prosecutors wrote.
In a new court filing, the Federal Bureau of Investigation alleges that Butina during her time in the United States cohabitated with an unidentified 56-year-old man as part of her cover while conducting her work in the United States. One such exchange occurred a month before the USA presidential election when Butina said she understood that "everything has to be quiet and careful".
On the night of President Donald Trump's election, Butina messaged an unnamed Russian official saying she was "ready for further orders", according to the affidavit released this week. Her ultimate goal was to make American politics more sympathetic to Russian interests, according to court filings. "What can I say!()" Butina responded, "Good teachers!" That description would match Alexander Torshin, a former Russian senator and central banker who was one of 17 Russian government officials individually subjected to sanctions earlier this year for activities related to Syria and Ukraine as well as Crimea.More news: Missouri, Kansas Officials Weigh In On President Trump's Meeting With Vladimir Putin
Butina is accused of operating at the direction of a high-level official of the Russian Central Bank who was recently sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury, the Justice Department said. Other media reported on a business relationship between Butina and Torshin.
She is suspected of gathering intelligence on USA officials and political organizations and working to establish back-channel lines of communications for the Kremlin.
The NRA, which has previously been connected to Butina, has not commented on the charges.
The report bolsters the DOJ's claim that Butina worked with a high ranking Russian official to establish a "back channel" between the USA and Russia.
"Such unfounded claims against our compatriot simply look odd", Zakharova told reporters, adding that Butina had openly resided in the United States "for a long time" and did not hide from anyone.More news: Houseguest Accused of Biting Off Part of Woman’s Nose, Swallowing It