Meet Rick Gates — the Trump ally indicted in the Russia probe and charged with conspiracy against the US

  • Businessman Rick Gates was indicted along with Paul Manafort on Monday.
  • Gates was Manafort's protégé. The two met as Washington lobbyists three decades ago.
  • He joined Donald Trump's election efforts in 2016 when Manafort became the campaign manager.


Paul Manafort, the former campaign manager for Donald Trump during the 2016 election, was indicted Monday morning along with his former business associate Rick Gates, according to multiple media reports.

The two associates were charged on 12 counts, including conspiracy to launder money, conspiracy against the US, and false and misleading statements surrounding their foreign bank and financial accounts.

Robert Mueller, the special counsel to the US Justice Department leading the probe into the Trump campaign's possible coordination with Russia in last year's election, had been investigating Manafort and Gates for their relationships with foreign leaders and suspicious financial dealings abroad.

Manafort, who has strong ties to Trump's inner circle, has been at the center of Mueller's investigation. Gates is a lesser-known figure in Washington, but still an influential Trump booster with wide-ranging connections to powerful leaders and businessmen around the world. Here's what we know about him.

Gates' early days in Washington politics

Gates met Manafort nearly three decades ago while he was an intern at Black, Manafort, Stone, Kelly — one of the most powerful lobbying firms in DC.

The firm worked to help boost the image of dictators and strongmen around the world, including Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines, Mobutu Sese Seko of the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the Russian-aligned former president of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych.

Although Manafort left the firm the same year Gates joined, the two reunited in 2006 at a new consulting company called Davis Manafort.

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Key players in Trump-Russia connection allegations
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Key players in Trump-Russia connection allegations

Paul Manafort

Paul Manafort signed on as Donald Trump's campaign manager in March 2016. A longtime Republican strategist and beltway operative, Manafort had previously served as an adviser to former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovich -- a pro-Russia leader who was violently ousted in 2014. Manafort resigned from his campaign position in August 2016 amid questions over his lobbying history in Ukraine for an administration supportive of Russia. The former campaign manager reportedly remained in Trump's circle during the post-election transition period.

Michael Flynn

Gen. Michael Flynn was named President Trump's national security adviser in November of 2016. Flynn reportedly met and spoke with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in December, at one point discussing sanctions. Flynn originally told Vice President Pence he did not discuss sanctions -- a point the Department of Justice said made the national security adviser subject to blackmail. Flynn resigned from his position in February.

Sergey Kislyak

Outgoing Russian ambassador to the United States Sergey Kislyak is the Russian official U.S. attorney general Jeff Sessions -- communication Sessions denied during his Senate committee hearing testimony.

Roger Stone

Stone is a longtime Republican political consultant who served as a campaign adviser to Trump who continued to talk with the then-GOP candidate after stepping away from his adviser role. Stone claimed last year that he had knowledge of the planned WikiLeaks release of emails pertaining to Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee. Stone recently admitted to speaking via direct message with "Guccifer 2.0" -- an online entity U.S. officials believe is tied to Russia. Stone says the correspondence was “completely innocuous.”

Jeff Sessions

Former U.S. senator Jeff Sessions from Alabama joined Trump's campaign as a foreign policy adviser in February 2016. Sessions was nominated to be U.S. attorney general by President Trump and was then confirmed by the Senate. Reports then emerged that Sessions had spoken twice with Sergey Kislyak while he was senator -- a fact that he left out of his Senate hearing testimony. Instead, he said in writing that he had not communicated with any Russian officials during the campaign season. Sessions defended himself saying he had spoken with Kislyak specifically in a senate capacity.

Russian President Vladimir Putin

The American intelligence community accused Putin in Jan. 2017 of ordering a campaign to undermine trust in the American electoral process, developing a clear preference for Trump as president. "We assess Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the US presidential election. Russia's goals were to undermine public faith in the US democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency. We further assess Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump," the report read.

James Comey

Comey publicly confirmed in March an FBI inquiry into Russia's involvement in the 2016 election. “The F.B.I., as part of our counterintelligence effort, is investigating the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 president election,” Comey stated.

Carter Page

Page worked for Merrill Lynch as an investment banker out of their Moscow office for three years before joining Trump's campaign as a foreign policy adviser. During his time with Merrill Lynch, Page advised transactions for two major Russian entities. Page has called Washington "hypocritical" for focusing on corruption and democratization in addressing U.S. relations with Russia. While Page is someone Trump camp has seemingly tried to distance itself from, Page recently said he has made frequent visits to Trump Tower.

J.D. Gordon

Before Gordon joined the Trump campaign as a national security adviser in March 2016, he served as a Pentagon spokesman from 2005 through 2009. Like others involved in Trump-Russia allegations, Gordon met with ambassador Kislyak in July at the Republican National Convention, but has since denied any wrongdoing in their conversation. He advocated for and worked to revise the RNC language on and position toward Ukraine relations, so it was more friendly toward Russia's dealings in the country.

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Two years later, Gates took over the company's affairs in Eastern Europe, flying to London, Paris, and Moscow, meeting with potential business partners, developing deals, and negotiating contracts, according to The New York Times. His trips to Russia included meeting with associates of Oleg Deripaska, a Russian oligarch linked to organized crime who is an ally of President Vladimir Putin.

Connections to the Trump campaign

Gates joined Trump election efforts in the spring of 2016 when Manafort became the campaign manager, working as Manafort's deputy. He traveled with Trump and grew close with many top campaign officials, including former chief of staff Reince Priebus and adviser Tom Barrack.

After Manafort was ousted as Trump's campaign chief in August 2016, Gates continued working on behalf of the soon-to-be president, helping fundraise $25 million for the pro-Trump nonprofit America First Policies and working on Trump's inaugural committee. As Mueller's probe intensified in the early months of the Trump administration, Gates left the nonprofit altogether.

As recently as June, however, The Daily Beast reported that Gates was still visiting the White House and working under Barrack, who has remained one of Trump's most trusted advisers.

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Rick Gates and Donald Trump
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Rick Gates and Donald Trump
UNITED STATES - OCTOBER 30: FILE PHOTO Rick Gates looks on as GOP Presidential candidate Donald Trump checks the podium early Thursday afternoon in preparation for accepting the GOP nomination to be President at the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio on Wednesday July 20, 2016. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - OCTOBER 30: FILE PHOTO Rick Gates looks on as GOP Presidential candidate Donald Trump checks the podium early Thursday afternoon in preparation for accepting the GOP nomination to be President at the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio on Wednesday July 20, 2016. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - OCTOBER 30: FILE PHOTO From left, GOP Presidential candidate Donald Trump, campaign manager Paul Manafort and Rick Gates stand on stage during their podium check early Thursday afternoon in preparation for accepting the GOP nomination to be President at the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio on Wednesday July 20, 2016. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - OCTOBER 30: FILE PHOTO From left, Rick Gates, GOP Presidential candidate Donald Trump, Ivanka Trump,flanked by campaign manager Paul Manafort and daughter Ivanka, campaign manager Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner stand on stage during their podium check early Thursday afternoon in preparation for accepting the GOP nomination to be President at the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio on Wednesday July 20, 2016. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
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Trump reportedly "had no idea [Gates] was in the building, otherwise he wouldn't be too happy," a source told the outlet. Gates still had access to the West Wing, even if it wasn't directly with the president.

Secret payments in Cyprus

During his tenure at Davis Manafort, Gates helped start a private equity fund called Pericles that was set up to buy companies in Russia and Eastern Europe.

The money that was funneled through that fund, reportedly through offshore bank accounts in Cyprus, believed to be at the center of Mueller's indictment of Manafort and Gates.

Jason Maloni, a spokesman for Manafort, told the New York Times in June that "Paul's payments for his work abroad have all come through traceable wire transfers to his U.S. accounts."

Manafort and Gates have denied any wrongdoing, even though both of their names appear on documents linked to those shell companies in Cyprus.

Read the full indictment for Gates and Manafort below:

 

 

 

Manafort-gates Indictment Filed and Redacted by Rebecca Harrington on Scribd

 

 

NOW WATCH: Watch Paul Manafort — Trump's former campaign chairman — surrender to the FBI

 

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SEE ALSO: Paul Manafort indicted in Mueller probe, surrenders to FBI

 

DON'T MISS: Meet Robert Mueller, the former FBI director and tenacious investigator now leading the Trump-Russia probe

 

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