Trump campaign's Gates knew he was speaking to Russian intel agent, say feds

The FBI says that during the 2016 campaign Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort and his deputy, Rick Gates, were in touch with a Manafort associate who had an ongoing relationship with Russian intelligence, according to court documents filed late Tuesday by prosecutors for Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

The filings also allege that Gates stated he was aware the Manafort associate had once been an officer with Russian military intelligence (GRU). The Manafort associate is not named, but is referred to as "Person A" and described as someone who the FBI says "has ties to a Russian intelligence service and had such ties in 2016."

Gates pleaded guilty in February to conspiracy and making false statements and is cooperating with Mueller's investigation of possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Manafort has pleaded not guilty to charges that include bank fraud and money laundering in connection with his work for a pro-Russia political party in Ukraine.

Gates had also worked with Manafort in Ukraine.

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Richard Gates, business associate of Paul Manafort
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Richard Gates, business associate of Paul Manafort
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 02: Richard Gates leaves the Prettyman Federal Courthouse following a hearing November 2, 2017 in Washington, DC. Gates and his former business partner and former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort both pleaded not guilty Monday to a 12-charge indictment that included money laundering and conspiracy. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 16: Richard Gates (C) leaves the Prettyman Federal Courthouse January 16, 2018 in Washington, DC. Gates and his former business partner and Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort were indicted on charges that included money laundering and conspiracy. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 11: Richard Gates leaves the Prettyman Federal Courthouse after a hearing December 11, 2017 in Washington, DC. Gates and his former business partner former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort both pleaded not guilty Monday to a 12-charge indictment that included money laundering and conspiracy. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 02: Richard Gates arrives at the Prettyman Federal Courthouse for a hearing November 2, 2017 in Washington, DC. Gates and former business partner and former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort both pleaded not guilty Monday to a 12-charge indictment that included money laundering and conspiracy. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 16: Richard Gates (C) arrives at the Prettyman Federal Courthouse January 16, 2018 in Washington, DC. Gates and his former business partner Paul Manafort were indicted on charges that included money laundering and conspiracy. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 02: Richard Gates arrives at the Prettyman Federal Court Building for a hearing November 2, 2017 in Washington, DC. Gates and former business partner and former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort both pleaded not guilty Monday to a 12-charge indictment that included money laundering and conspiracy. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 11: Richard Gates arrives at the Prettyman Federal Courthouse for a hearing December 11, 2017 in Washington, DC. Gates and his former business partner former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort both pleaded not guilty Monday to a 12-charge indictment that included money laundering and conspiracy. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 02: Richard Gates arrives at the Prettyman Federal Court Building for a hearing November 2, 2017 in Washington, DC. Gates and former business partner and former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort both pleaded not guilty Monday to a 12-charge indictment that included money laundering and conspiracy. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 11: Richard Gates arrives at the Prettyman Federal Courthouse for a hearing December 11, 2017 in Washington, DC. Gates and his former business partner former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort both pleaded not guilty Monday to a 12-charge indictment that included money laundering and conspiracy. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
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The Mueller team provided the FBI's evaluation of the Manafort associate in a pre-sentencing report for another defendant who has pleaded guilty in the probe, London-based attorney Alex van der Zwaan. Prosecutors said van der Zwaan lied about his contact with Gates, and with Gates's contact with Person A during the 2016 presidential campaign.

While working for the London office of the Skadden Arps law firm, Van der Zwaan had helped compile a 2012 report commissioned by Manafort to defend the prosecution of former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko. Manafort worked as a consultant for the government of Ukrainian President Victor Yanukovych, which had imprisoned Tymoshenko.

During his first interview with the special counsel's office in 2017, according to the report, "van der Zwaan admitted that he knew" Person A was connected to Russian intelligence, "stating that Gates told him Person A was a former Russian intelligence officer with the GRU."

But prosecutors say van der Zwaan, who is married to the daughter of a Russian billionaire, "lied repeatedly" to Mueller's prosecutors and "destroyed and failed to produce pertinent documents."

According to prosecutors, van der Zwaan, Gates and Person A had a series of conversations in September and October 2016, including a phone call that van der Zwaan recorded. Prosecutors say Van der Zwaan concealed the recorded phone call from them.

"The conversations concerned potential criminal charges in Ukraine about the Tymoshenko report and how the firm was compensated for its work," according to the pre-sentencing report.

"In van der Zwaan's recorded conversation with Person A, in Russian, Person A suggested that 'there were additional payments,' that '[t]he official contract was only a part of the iceberg,' and that the story may become a blow for 'you and me' personally."

Attorneys for Richard Gates and Alex van der Zwaan did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

A spokesperson for Paul Manafort declined to comment. Manafort remains under a court-imposed gag order.

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Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort through the years
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Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort through the years
U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's campaign chair and convention manager Paul Manafort speaks at a press conference at the Republican Convention in Cleveland, U.S., July 19, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump gives a thumbs up as his campaign manager Paul Manafort (C) and daughter Ivanka (R) look on during Trump's walk through at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, U.S., July 21, 2016. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's campaign chair and convention manager Paul Manafort appears at a press conference at the Republican Convention in Cleveland, U.S., July 19, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump's campaign manager Paul Manafort talks to the media from the Trump family box on the floor of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S. July 18, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Paul Manafort, senior advisor to Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump, smiles as he talks with other Trump campaign staff after Trump spoke to supporters following the results of the Indiana state primary, at Trump Tower in Manhattan, New York, U.S., May 3, 2016. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump's senior campaign adviser Paul Manafort (L) walks into a reception with former Republican presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson, at the Republican National Committee Spring Meeting at the Diplomat Resort in Hollywood, Florida, April 21, 2016. REUTERS/Joe Skipper
CLEVELAND, OH - JULY 21: Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort listens to Ivanka Trump speak at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland on July 21, 2016. (Photo by Michael Robinson Chavez/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - JULY 20: A man with a security credential takes a selfie at the podium as Donald Trump, flanked by campaign manager Paul Manafort and daughter Ivanka, 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 - JULY 19: Paul Manafort, advisor to Donald Trump, is seen on the floor of the Quicken Loans Arena at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, July 19, 2016. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
MEET THE PRESS -- Pictured: (l-r) Paul Manafort., Convention Manager, Trump Campaign, appears on 'Meet the Press' in Washington, D.C., Sunday April 10, 2016. (Photo by: William B. Plowman/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
NA.R.DoleMicCk1.081596.RG.Republican presidential candidate Bob Dole looks up from podium at balloons and television cameras as convention center manager Paul Manafort, at right, points out preparations for tonight's acceptance speech in San Diego, 08/15/96. (Photo by Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 21: Paul Manafort, Roger Stone and Lee Atwater, young Republicans political operatives who have set up lobbying firms. (Photo by Harry Naltchayan/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
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