By Steve Neavling
Special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation now has what appears to be a direct link between Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign and Russia.
Former campaign aide Rick Gates, who has pleaded guilty and is cooperating with Mueller’s team, was “directly communicating” in the final months of the presidential election in 2016 with a person who the FBI believes has ties to Russian intelligence, the USA Today reports.
The contacts were revealed in court documents in the upcoming sentencing of Alex van der Zwaan, a London attorney who had pleaded guilty to lying about his contacts with Gates and Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who is expected to face trial this fall on numerous fraud, conspiracy and tax charges.
Prosectors allege van der Zwaan knew about the contacts with “Person A,” who appears to be a former Ukraine-based aide who had worked with Gates and Manafort and has close ties to Russian intelligence.
“Gates told him ‘Person A’ was a former Russian intelligence officer with the GRU (the intelligence arm of the Russian military),” the court documents state.
The White House did not respond to direct questions about the latest revelations but offered a blanket denial of wrongdoing.
“There was no collusion and we’re confident in that,” White House spokeswoman Sanders said.