"So ask yourself, why would Putin be trying to get Donald Trump elected president?"
US federal prosecutors accused Butina this week of being a covert Russian agent and working to infiltrate USA political organizations, including the National Rifle Association, before and after Donald Trump's election as president.
The White House's silence over what agreements were made between President Trump and President Putin in Helsinki has handed the initiative to Russian Federation, which is wasting little time trying to nail down specifics. A few of Trump's most loyal toadies defended him. Trump may like doing things his way, eschewing advice and precedent like no president before, but he never likes being alone.
The only agreement reached between President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland, on Monday was to meet again later this year, a National Security Council official tells CBS News' "Face the Nation" host Margaret Brennan. The highly choreographed affairs had been sought out by the USA leader as a way to boost his credibility overseas and his favorability at home, and he believed the latest one had accomplished the task.
Russian Federation would prefer the talks to be more formal than the exchanges in Helsinki, which would give Putin the chance to ensure that bureaucracies on both sides start to nail down some details.
On Thursday, Trump said he was "not happy" that the Federal Reserve was raising interest rates, breaking with long-standing tradition at the White House of avoiding any influence on the USA central bank.
Trump's public doubting of Russia's responsibility in a joint news conference with Putin on Tuesday provoked withering criticism from Republicans as well as Democrats and forced the president to make a rare public admission of error. In contrast, Trump said that he has been "far tougher on Russian Federation than any president in many, many years - maybe ever".
The next day brought a fresh challenge.
Asked at the summit if he believed the US intelligence community's conclusion that Moscow interfered with the vote, Trump said: "I don't see any reason why it would be [Russia]... but I have confidence in both parties".
The White House, with Trump under fierce criticism in the United States, did on Thursday reject Putin's proposal that Russian authorities be present for the questioning of Americans it accuses of "illegal activities", including a former USA ambassador to Moscow.
With Putin at his side, Trump said of American intelligence officials: "They said they think it's Russian Federation. That's why we are taking steps to ensure this does not happen", White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said.
As each White House effort to clean up the situation failed to stem the growing bipartisan backlash, Trump's mood worsened, according to confidants. He was angry at the two American reporters, including one from The Associated Press, who asked questions at the Helsinki news conference. And he seethed at the lack of support he believed he received from congressional Republicans.
Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats told a security conference he's sure the ball "has been looked at very carefully".
The back-and-forth came as the White House outlined the agenda for a proposed second summit between Trump and Putin - in Washington this fall - that would focus on national security.
It all left White House staffers in a fresh state of resignation about their jobs.
Ambassador Anatoly Antonov said the Kremlin was ready to discuss the offer made by the USA president, amid continuing domestic criticism of his first meeting with the Russian leader in Helsinki. "In the United States, in Russian Federation, or anywhere else", he said in a statement.