The State Department on Sunday made no mention of the Russian woman charged with acting as a foreign agent of Moscow in its description of a call between Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his Russian counterpart, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
The two top diplomats discussed issues ranging from the Syrian civil war to counterterrorism cooperation on Saturday, according to a readout of the call provided by the State Department.
But last week’s arrest of Maria Butina, a 29-year-old Russian woman who was charged with acting as a foreign agent for the Russian government at the direction of a senior Russian official, was not mentioned.
Lavrov reportedly said during the call with Pompeo that Butina had been detained on “fabricated charges” and called for her release as soon as possible.
Butina was ordered held without bail, as prosecutors cast her as someone who had built her life in the U.S. on deception.
She came to the U.S. in 2016 on a student visa to study at American University in Washington. But prosecutors allege that the visa was part of her cover — a ruse to hide her true motives in the U.S.
Pompeo’s phone call with Lavrov came five days after President Trumpheld talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, where the U.S. leader sparked a firestorm of criticism after he challenged his intelligence community’s assessment that Moscow meddled in the 2016 election.
Trump has since walked back those comments, insisting that he misspoke during a joint news conference with Putin.
The U.S. intelligence community has repeatedly asserted that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential race, and is preparing for similar actions during the 2018 midterm elections.