Gates Knew Campaign Contact was Russian Intelligence, Says Mueller Document
- Author: Rogelio Becker Mar 29, 2018,
Mar 29, 2018, 1:19
The newspaper says that then-Trump attorney, John Dowd, raised the idea with attorneys for former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and former national security adviser Michael Flynn. He recommended a jail sentence that would allow van der Zwaan to return to his home in the United Kingdom in time for his wife - the daughter of a prominent Russian oligarch - to give birth in August 2018.
The filing also states that Gates and Person A - who has yet to be identified - were "directly communicating" in September and October 2016. Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agents assisting the Special Counsel's Office assess that Person A has ties to Russian intelligence service and had such ties 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? He initially denied having contact in September 2016 with Gates and Person A. But he acknowledged in a court filing of his own on Tuesday that he actually recorded conversations with both men.
Mueller described those calls - and van der Zwaan's subsequent misstatements to investigators about them - as "material to the special counsel's office".
The identity of Person A is unclear.
The description of Person A in the court records appears to match that of Konstantin Kilimnik, a Ukrainian who worked for Manafort.
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Mueller's office accused Manafort in December of working with Kilimnik to help ghostwrite an op-ed previous year about his consulting work in Ukraine.
Mueller's latest court filing - and more that come out of Van der Zwaan's case - could shed light on whether Person A was Kilimnik, and whether Manafort, as one of the highest-ranking members of the Trump campaign, knew that Person A was tied to Russian intelligence.
Mr. van der Zwaan was an attorney at a firm that worked with Mr. Manafort and Mr. Gates to prepare a report used to defend Viktor F. Yanukovych, the former Ukrainian president, from worldwide criticism over the prosecution and incarceration of one of his political rivals.
Manafort has pleaded not guilty to dozens of charges brought against him, including tax and bank fraud, money laundering, and conspiracy against the US.
Mr. Kilimnik has maintained residences in Moscow and Kiev, the capital of Ukraine, and has traveled regularly between them during years of working for Mr. Manafort and Mr. Gates on behalf of various Russia-aligned oligarchs and political parties.
Gates has recently started cooperating with Mueller's team.