State Department mum on alleged foreign agent in readout of Pompeo call with Lavrov

State Department mum on alleged foreign agent in readout of Pompeo call with Lavrov
© Anna Moneymaker

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 PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoTrump ultimatum sparks fears of new arms race Paul calls Trump's pick for attorney general's views on surveillance 'very troubling' Focus on Yemen, not the Saudi crown prince MORE 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 TrumpDonald John TrumpCorsi sues Mueller for alleged leaks and illegal surveillance Comey: Trump 'certainly close' to being unindicted co-conspirator Trump pushes back on reports that Ayers was first pick for chief of staff MORE held 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.