In a new filing on Tuesday, lead special counsel investigator Robert Mueller has revealed that Rick Gates — the long-time professional and personal associate of Paul Manafort, and Trump’s deputy chairman in the 2016 campaign — was in direct contact with Kremlin officials in the weeks leading up to the election.
And maybe that opener wasn’t juicy enough for you, so let’s dial it up a bit: The documents filed in the D.C. District Court don’t just say “officials.” They say that Rick Gates, while he was working on the Trump campaign, knowingly made and maintained contact with a person that he knew to be a Russian spy.
After Gates struck a plea deal with Mueller’s team — avoiding what could have been decades in prison — we knew that he would be forthcoming with information that had not yet been seen by Americans, and which Team Trump was unaware that Mueller would be getting, now that Gates was out of the inner circle and in with Mueller.
But there was no way to predict that Mueller would so quickly find out that not only is there evidence that key players in the Trump campaign had contact with Russia, contrary to the consistent denials of the president and his legal team, but that Team Trump knew all along that this contact with both was illegal and unethical, and possibly treasonous.
The spy that Gates had contact with, though not identified by name in the filing, is widely assumed to be Konstantin Kilimnik, the man who ran Paul Manafort’s lobbying firm in Ukraine’s capital, Kiev, for years.
NBC News: Here’s the filing. Person A is identified in previous pages as an associate of Paul Manafort: pic.twitter.com/zWkY8vTZRR
— Tom Winter (@Tom_Winter) March 28, 2018
Attorneys inside the Mueller camp noted, according to reports, that Gates’ plea deal had “triggered a palpable alarm” inside the White House.
We can’t imagine why.
Featured image via New Century Times Gallery