Trump Lawyer Pushed For Pardons Of Michael Flynn And Paul Manafort

Mueller reveals Manafort and Gates associate had Russian intelligence ties

The identity of the individual is unclear, but the description bears similarities to Konstantin Kilimnik, a longtime associate of Gates and former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

At the time of the calls, Mr. Gates was the Trump campaign's liaison to the Republican National Committee and, before that, he was the campaign's deputy chairman. He recommended a jail sentence that would allow van der Zwaan to return to his home in the United Kingdom in time for his wife - the daughter of a prominent Russian oligarch - to give birth in August 2018.

The court filing says Van der Zwaan not only spoke with both Gates and the unnamed person about a report about a controversial Ukrainian politician's trial but also destroyed evidence that Mueller's office was seeking, including the September 2016 email.

It added that federal investigators have assessed that Person A is directly tied to Russian intelligence "and had such ties in 2016".

It might not mean much - but if it didn't, why would van der Zwaan (and possibly Gates) try to keep it from investigators and risk an obstruction of justice charge?

Update: And of course, the biggest issue here is that Gates himself admitted to van der Zwaan that he knew of Kilimnik's relationships with Russian intel at the time. "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".

The identity of Person A is unclear.

Mueller's office accused Manafort in December of working with Kilimnik to help ghostwrite an op-ed past year about his consulting work in Ukraine.

A Manafort spokesman expressed confidence in June that investigators would ultimately conclude that Manafort's interactions with Kilimnik were "perfectly permissible and not in furtherance of some conspiracy".

The charges range from bank fraud and filing false tax returns to conspiring to defraud the United States, conspiring to launder money and failing to register as a foreign agent when he lobbied for the pro-Russian government of former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.

Both Mr. Manafort and Mr. Gates were indicted past year for money laundering and other financial crimes committed while, the charges said, they tried to hide the money they received for their Ukraine work.

The possibility of a pardon raises new questions about why Manafort has repeatedly refused to cooperate with Mueller's team.

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