Published: Thu, March 29, 2018
Life&Culture | By Peggy Hughes

Gates Knew Campaign Contact was Russian Intelligence, Says Mueller Document

Gates Knew Campaign Contact was Russian Intelligence, Says Mueller Document

Both Gates and the lawyer, Alex van der Zwaan, have pleaded guilty as part of Mueller's investigation of Russian meddling in the election.

The attorney who pleaded guilty in February to lying to Federal Bureau of Investigation agents about his contacts with former Trump campaign associate Rick Gates, asked prosecutors late Tuesday to let him skate with no jail time. The papers make it clear that this is an important matter for the probe and highlight that Gates knew that "Person A" had been a GRU officer; Mueller's team writes that documents about their communications were "material" and "pertinent to the investigation".

Former Trump campaign official Rick Gates allegedly was in contact with someone tied to Russian intelligence in 2016.

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Alex van der Zwaan, a Dutch lawyer who worked in London for NY law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, pleaded guilty last month to lying to special counsel Robert Mueller's team about his contacts with Gates shortly before the presidential election. Kilimnik told The Post in June that he has "no relation to the Russian or any other intelligence service". Despite the fact that Gates and Manafort knew that this business associate had ties to the Kremlin, they still chose to form a working relationship with the associate during October of 2016, mere weeks before the election.

"Focused on preserving his career at Skadden, and fearful that truthful answers could lead to discovery of the recordings (and in particular, the discovery that he had recorded a Skadden partner), Alex made a bad decision: he chose to cut off the inquiry at its inception by lying about the September 2016 conversations with Gates and Person A", according to the defense filing.

Mueller's team says he still has ties to the GRU, which the American intelligence community said was behind the hacks on Democrats' emails and disseminating them before the election, though Kilimnik has denied such claims. Why those six words were added in this filing when they didn't appear in a previous filing is the $64,000 question.

The 30-page sentencing memorandum filed by the special counsel alleges that Gates was communicating with "Person A", who is described as "a former Russian Intelligence Officer with the GRU"-the foreign military intelligence agency of the Russia federation". After van der Zwaan pleaded guilty to false statements on February 20, Kilimnik declined to comment on whether he was Person A.

Update: And of course, the biggest issue here is that Gates himself admitted to van der Zwaan that he knew of Kilimnik's relationships with Russian intel at the time. Mueller is now apparently directly disputing that using Gates's own words.

The memorandum was filed with the United States District Court for the District of Columbia in the case US v. Alex van der Zwaan. Was it an honest mistake, or was he covering something up?

Proponents of the accusation that Trump "colluded" with Russian Federation during the 2016 presidential election jumped on the revelations. Mr. Manafort served as the campaign chairman until August 2016, when he resigned amid the growing controversy about secret payments he had received for his lobbying in Ukraine.

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