Trump Aide Rick Gates Communicated With Former Russian Spy During the Campaign

A campaign aide to Donald Trump directly communicated a month before the 2016 presidential election with a man he knew was a onetime Russian spy, according to a court filing by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

Rick Gates, the former aide, told an attorney for a U.S. law firm that a Russian they worked with in Ukraine was a former military intelligence officer, according to the filing late Tuesday in Washington.

Both Gates and the lawyer, Alexander van der Zwaan, have pleaded guilty and are cooperating with Mueller in his investigation of Russian meddling in the election. Gates worked for Paul Manafort, the indicted former Trump campaign chairman, as a political consultant in Ukraine for a decade.

The filing identifies the ex-spy only as Person A. The description of him by prosecutors, a person living in Moscow and Kiev who worked with Manafort and Gates in Ukraine, matches that of Konstantin Kilimnik. After van der Zwaan pleaded guilty to false statements on Feb. 20, Kilimnik declined to comment on whether he was Person A.

Van der Zwaan is scheduled to be sentenced on April 3 and faces as many as six months in prison under a plea agreement with Mueller’s office. In a sentencing memorandum, prosecutors urged the judge to consider a jail term for him. Lawyers for van der Zwaan said he should not be sentenced to jail.

The case is U.S. v. van der Zwaan, 18-cr-00031, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia (Washington).


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