Rick Gates in contact with Russian intelligence figure during 2016: prosecutors

Bipartisan Senate duo calls on Trump to back off Mueller

Van der Zwaan typically communicated with Person A, a native Russian speaker, in Russian over encrypted applications, such as WhatsApp, Viber and Telegram, according to the sentencing memo by defense lawyers.

Additional court papers urge the judge in the case to incarcerate the accused lawyer.

The FBI has found that a business associate of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort had ongoing ties to Russian intelligence, including during the 2016 campaign when Manafort and his deputy, Rick Gates, were in touch with the associate, according to new court filings.

Mr. van der Zwaan originally told Mr. Mueller's investigators that he had not spoken to Mr. Gates since August 2016, but subsequently admitted he had lied after prosecutors confronted him with evidence of conversations. Gates has already plead guilty and is working with the special counsel, while Manafort appears to maintain his innocence. "He thereafter deliberately and repeatedly lied", as well as "withheld and otherwise destroyed documents requested by the Special Counsel's Office through his counsel relating to his work with Manafort, Gates, and Person A" including a September 12, 2016, email "that the government had obtained through other means".

For those keeping score, van der Zwaan is the son-in-law of a Russian oligarch, German Khan, one of the owners of Alfa Bank, and had extensive dealings with Manafort on his earlier work for the Yanukovych regime in Ukraine.

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. "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".

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Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort has been charged with money laundering over his work in Ukraine.

What's particularly significant in the Mueller filing, though, are six words: "and had such ties in 2016".

Kilimnik has denied ties to the intelligence community, telling the newspaper in June that he has "no relation to the Russian or any other intelligence service". Mueller is now apparently directly disputing that using Gates's own words.

While Manafort left the Trump campaign in August 2016, Gates stayed on through the election and then worked for the Trump inaugural committee.

The two-page indictment against him says he might have deleted his most recent email communications with Gates, whom Mueller indicted October 30 alongside Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort for money laundering, conspiracy, and failure to register as a foreign agent for lobbying work on behalf of the Ukrainian government. Van der Zwaan had recorded those calls, but in his first meeting with investigators, represented by a Skadden partner, he failed to tell investigators about the recordings, according to the filings.

"To the extent the Court seeks to take into account the circumstances of van der Zwaan's wife's pregnancy, consideration of that circumstance would not preclude a term of incarceration", the special counsel's office wrote.

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