Manafort bets on presidential pardon in special counsel case

Posted March 29, 2018

Three sources say that Mueller's team is now looking at the possibility that Dowd made pardon offers to both former Trump advisers past year because the president's team was concerned about what they might say if they struck a deal with the special counsel.

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.

Van der Zwaan, who pleaded for no jail time, said that he lied about the conversations because he did not want to admit that he recorded Gates, Person A and the Skadden Arps partner.

"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".

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? That Gates and Person A were directly communicating in September and October 2016 was pertinent to the investigation.

The identity of Person A is unclear.

The filing identifies the ex-spy only as Person A. The description of him by prosecutors, a person living in Moscow and Kiev who worked with Manafort and Gates in Ukraine, matches that of Konstantin Kilimnik. Instead, Mueller has indicted Gates and Manafort on charges related to their consulting work for former Ukrainian prime minister Viktor Yanukovych.

Paul Manafort has been indicted on multiple charges of financial fraud
Pablo Martinez Monsivais Paul Manafort has been indicted on multiple charges of financial fraud

Oleg Voloshyn, the former spokesman for Ukraine's ministry of foreign affairs under Yanukovych, told Bloomberg previous year that he wrote the op-ed and sent a draft to Kilimnik in early December.

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 op-ed was submitted to the Kyiv Post, an English-language Ukrainian media outlet, which declined to publish it. Brian Bonner, the editor, told Bloomberg the op-ed was "highly suspicious" and "blatantly pro-Manafort".

Kilimnik also acted as an intermediary between Manafort and Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Van der Zwaan is scheduled to be sentenced on April 3 and faces as many as six months in prison under a plea agreement with Mueller's office.

Van der Zwaan is scheduled to be sentenced next Tuesday on one count of making false statements. He is now cooperating with Mueller's office.