Rick Gates in contact with Russian intelligence figure during 2016: prosecutors

The need for a sweeping agenda for democratic security

The need for a sweeping agenda for democratic security

Prosecutors explained that van der Zwaan had lied and withheld documents about information that was "pertinent" to their investigation - that Gates had been in direct contact during the presidential campaign with a person who "has ties to a Russian intelligence services and had such ties in 2016".

Had Trump-Russia believers read Mueller's memo more carefully, they might have noticed it specifically states that the conversations between "Person A", van der Zwaan and Gates "concerned potential criminal charges in Ukraine" about a report concerning the corruption trial of a former government official and the compensation Gates and Manafort were paid for their lobbying work, rather than anything pertaining to the Trump campaign or the U.S. presidential election.

The new document is a sentencing memorandum for Alex van der Zwaan, a lawyer who pleaded guilty in February to lying to federal investigators about his conversations with Mr. Gates in 2016 about work the two men did in Ukraine. He pleaded guilty earlier this year to lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation about his interactions with Gates and the former intelligence officer and is to be sentenced on April 3. His lawyers wrote that he lied to investigators that first meeting about his communications with Gates and Person A in 2016, and about an email that hadn't been produced to the special counsel's office.

Van der Zwaan is scheduled to be sentenced next Tuesday on one count of making false statements.

In fact, van der Zwaan is accused of giving Gates "talking points as to how to present the report in an advantageous light to Ukraine", against the express wishes of his law firm. He'd be in position to know who the players were. Lawyers for van der Zwaan said he should not be sentenced to jail. The person has been identified in news reports as Konstantin Kilimnik, a longtime business associate from Manafort's days working on behalf of a Kremlin-aligned Ukrainian political party.

Kilimnik ran Manafort's office in Kiev during the 10 years he did consulting work there, The Post reported in 2017. Or "gone native", as Mueller's filing puts it. Prosecutors have said previously that a longtime Manafort and Gates associate had ties to Russian intelligence, but they have never said those ties remained during the 2016 campaign. While more ties between the Russians and Trump's campaign are revealed, one question is still in the minds of the American people: "What did the President know, and when did he know it?"

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Rick Gates, the former aide, told an attorney for a us law firm that a Russian they worked with in Ukraine was a former military intelligence officer, according to the filing late Tuesday in Washington. He has denied being involved in Russian intelligence, but he served in the Russian military and attended a Russian military foreign language university that is seen as a breeding ground for intelligence agents. Kilimnik told The Post in June that he has "no relation to the Russian or any other intelligence service".

Last October, The Atlantic also published several emails that appeared to show Manafort using his elevated role in the Trump campaign to work with Kilimnik in resolving a financial dispute with the Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska.

The allegations underscore Mueller's interest in Manafort and Gates, who continued to interact with business associates in Ukraine even as they helped lead Donald Trump's presidential campaign.

Van der Zwaan's criminal charge has no apparent connection to the Trump campaign aside from his contact with then-campaign aide Gates in 2016.

It might not mean much - but if it didn't, why would van der Zwaan (and possibly Gates) try to keep it from investigators and risk an obstruction of justice charge? Previous reporting had already documented the long-standing ties between Kilimnik and Manafort, including meetings the pair had during the campaign.

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