Recurring pro-Kremlin narrative claiming that Maria Butina was simply a student at a Washington university and was not working for the Russian government.
The FBI investigation provided ample evidence of Butina’s violation of Title 18 of the United States Code, section 951 (Agents of Foreign Governments), which makes it a criminal offense for any person, other than a diplomatic or consular official or attache, to act in the United States as an agent of a foreign government without prior notification to the Attorney General, as required by law.
The FBI investigation revealed that Butina worked under the direction of a senior Russian official to cultivate ties with US political groups and highly influential individuals (primarily conservatives) in order to collect information about - and exert influence on - such groups and individuals in the interests of the Russian Federation.
Prosecutors included a memo by Robert Anderson, a 20-year veteran of the FBI specialized in counterintelligence, who assessed that the information provided by Butina to the Russian official who directed her “was of substantial intelligence value to the Russian government and that Russian intelligence services will be able to use this information for years to come in their efforts to spot and assess Americans who may be susceptible to recruitment as foreign intelligence assets”.
Background here by Polygraph.
For a similar case see here.