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Special Counsel Says Trump Aide Knowingly Communicated With Former Russian Spy

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Unread 03.29.18, 05:32 PM
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Special Counsel Says Trump Aide Knowingly Communicated With Former Russian Spy

On 03.28.18 11:33 AM posted by Chuck Ross

Former Trump campaign aide Rick Gates was in contact just before the 2016 election with a man he knew to be a former Russian spy, according to a document filed Tuesday by special counsel Robert Mueller’s office.

The revelation comes in*a sentencing memorandum*filed about Alex van der Zwaan, a London-based lawyer who pleaded guilty in February to lying to Mueller’s investigators about his contacts with Gates and the ex-spy.

Mueller is probing Russia’s meddling in the 2016 presidential election, including any collusion with the Trump campaign.

According to the memo, Gates told van der Zwaan he was aware that one of their associates was a former Russian intelligence officer with the GRU, Russia’s military intelligence outfit. The ex-agent, identified as Person A,*maintained contacts*with Russian intelligence at the time of his interactions with Gates, according to the filing.

The filing from Mueller reads:
Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agents assisting the Special Counsel’s Office assess that Person A has ties to a Russian intelligence service and had such ties in 2016. During his first interview with the Special Counsel’s Office, van der Zwaan admitted that he knew of that connection, stating that Gates told him Person A was a former Russian Intelligence Officer with the GRU.

The filing also states that Gates and Person A—who has yet to be identified—were “directly communicating” in September and October 2016. The presidential election was held Nov. 8.

Mueller’s team has yet to produce evidence that van der Zwaan, Gates, or Gates’ business partner, Paul Manafort, were involved in a Russian scheme to influence the election.

Instead, Mueller indicted Gates and Manafort on charges related to their consulting work for former Ukrainian Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych.

Van der Zwaan, 33, worked for Manafort and Gates while with the international law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom.

Manafort’s firm was paid millions of dollars to rehabilitate Yanukovych’s image in Ukraine. As part of that effort, Manafort and Gates hired Skadden to produce a report that justified the imprisonment of Yulia Tymoshenko, a political opponent of Yanukovych’s.

Gates recently began to cooperate with Mueller’s team. Manafort, who was Trump’s campaign manager for several months, continues to fight the charges.

Van der Zwaan admitted in February that he lied to Mueller’s investigators during a November interview. He initially denied having contact in September 2016 with Gates and Person A. But he acknowledged in a court filing of his own Tuesday that he actually recorded conversations with both men.

Van der Zwaan said Person A made him aware that charges could be forthcoming against them in Ukraine over their report on Tymoshenko.

Van der Zwaan, who was fired by Skadden in November, also said he recorded a conversation he had with a partner at the law firm regarding his conversation with Person A.

Van der Zwaan, who pleaded guilty in exchange for no jail time, said he lied about the conversations because he did not want to admit that he recorded Gates, Person A, and the Skadden partner.

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The post Special Counsel Says Trump Aide Knowingly Communicated With Former Russian Spy appeared first on The Daily Signal.

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