U.S. prosecutors on Monday unsealed criminal charges against a Russian woman, Mariia Butina, who tried to broker secret meetings between President Trump — then still just the GOP nominee — and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Butina, a gun rights activist, was accused of conspiracy against America. She allegedly acted as an unregistered Russian agent, building close ties with the GOP through the NRA to advance Russia's interests in American politics. She allegedly was directed by a high-level Russian official, the Department of Justice said. The charges were not levied by Special Counsel Robert Mueller's office, which is investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 election, but are instead connected to a separate Russian intelligence operation. Butina's lawyer has denied the charges.

Scroll for 5 things you
need to know now