Mueller charges Gates associate with lying to Federal Bureau of Investigation in Russian Federation probe

The attorney, Alex van der Zwaan, the son-in-law of one of Russia's richest men, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., to a charge of lying to the Special Counsel's office.

They were investigating Manafort's, Gates' and other individuals' compliance with the Foreign Agents Registration Act, which governs foreign lobbying and propaganda work for foreign governments in the U.S., and wanted to know who paid for a Ukrainian report on the trial of a former prime minister and how it was paid for, prosecutors said in court Tuesday.

Gates is a former aide on President Donald Trump's campaign and a longtime associate of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

Van der Zwaan's plea comes on the heels of an extraordinary indictment from Mueller last week that charged 13 Russian individuals and three Russian companies in a hidden social media effort to meddle in the 2016 USA presidential election by denigrating Democrat Hillary Clinton and boosting the chances of Trump.

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And according to the indictment, the false statements in question were about communications he had in 2016 with Rick Gates and an unnamed "Person A" related to that work. The Special Counsel determined that van der Zwaan had spoken in September 2016 with Gates and "Person A" regarding the report on the Tymoshenko trial, recording the call in secret, and deleted the requested emails including the email between him and "Person A". The attorneys included van der Zwaan.

Skadden partner Gregory Craig, the former White House counsel under President Barack Obama, also worked on the report, as did partners Cliff Sloan and Margaret Krawiec.

Paul Manafort was part of the effort to recruit Skadden on behalf of Ukraine, Bloomberg News reported, citing documents it reviewed.

And court records filed on February 16 show a California man had pleaded guilty to identity fraud in connection with a so-called Russian "troll factory" that created fictitious accounts on Facebook and other social media in what USA authorities call an effort to sow discord in American politics. But in fact Trump had ordered special counsel Robert Mueller's firing in June 2017, just one month after Mueller was appointed, the New York Times reported.

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And only one company in the country produces the high-quality aluminum alloy used for military aerospace purposes. Trump said the USA steel and aluminum industries "are being decimated by dumping and from many countries".

Van der Zwaan represents the interests of numerous Russian oligarchs.

The Tymoshenko report was cited in the 12-count indictment against Manafort and Gates.

Gates and Manafort were indicted past year on charges related to laundering tens of millions of dollars, and failing to register as agents acting on behalf of a foreign government.

The law firm Skadden was roped into the controversy when it emerged that Ukraine's former Justice Minister, Oleksandr Lavrynovych, embezzled over $1 million in order to pay the law firm, which was hired by then Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych. That work became a matter of interest for Mueller's team, the New York Times reported, due to their interest in studying Manafort's work for Yanukovych and for Russian and Ukrainian oligarchs. In a filing Friday, Mueller's team said it had uncovered evidence of bank fraud by Manafort that was not covered in the original charges. No charges have been filed related to those accusations as of Tuesday morning.

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The rain is expected to continue into Sunday as temperatures again reach a high of about 50, the weather service said. This will allow us to cool back off in to the low and middle 20s Sunday night with gradually clearing clouds.

Van der Zwaan is also charged with misrepresenting his communications with Gates, the former deputy manager of President Donald Trump's campaign.

  • Ryan Wade