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How Mueller's Latest Indictment Relates to the Steele Dossier

How Mueller's Latest Indictment Relates to the Steele Dossier”

Prosecutors investigating possible collusion between the Trump election campaign and the Kremlin scored another victory on Tuesday after a lawyer who worked with former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort in Ukraine was charged with lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Mueller's office alleges that the lawyer, while working for a law firm hired by the Ukraine justice ministry in 2012 to prepare a report on the trial of former Ukraine Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, claimed that his last contact with Gates was in mid-August 2016. It stems from a part of the special counsel's investigation into Paul Manafort, Trump's former campaign chair, and Rick Gates, a former campaign aide and longtime business associate of Manafort.

He is charged with lying to investigators during a November 3 meeting about his contacts with a person identified as "Person A" and Richard Gates, a Trump campaign aide and close confidant of Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump's former campaign manager.

Yanukovych's government used the report to justify to the European Court of Human Rights the pre-trial detention by the Ukrainian government of former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, a Yanukovych rival, who was convicted in 2011 of embezzlement and corruption charges and sentenced to seven years in prison.

Prosecutors also say that Van Der Zwaan lied about his talks with someone identified only as "Person A".

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He would become the third known Trump official to cooperate with Mueller, joining former campaign aide George Papadopoulos and former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

The charge does not involve election meddling or relate to the Trump campaign's operations.

Manafort was sacked in August 2016, after reports circulated suggesting possible improper payments he received from a Kremlin-backed political party aligned with Manafort's former client and Ukranian president Viktor Yanukovych. Gates pleaded not guilty on October 30 alongside Manafort.

Ukraine's investigators have alleged that Yanukovych's government evaded Ukrainian publiccontracting rules by only paying Skadden $12,000 for the report-just below the threshold that would require a public bidding process-and then paying the firm $1.1 million a year later, with Skadden apparently having done no more work for Ukraine.

The White House has repeatedly rejected allegations of wrongdoing. According to a report past year in the Kiev Post, van der Zwaan served as a go-between for the Skadden team that went to Ukraine.

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Gates is expected to reverse his not guilty plea in the coming days and to eventually testify against Manafort, according to reports over the weekend. The New York Times reported that secret documents uncovered in Ukraine listed millions of dollars in illegal payments meant for Manafort, and CNN reported that Manafort's lobbying firm was under scrutiny by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Justice Department.

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

On Oct. 27, prosecutors accused Manafort and Gates of hiding their lobbying work in Ukraine and laundering millions of dollars.

Manafort and Gates have pleaded not guilty. He was reportedly finalising a plea deal as of last week.

Van der Zwaan spoke with the special counsel's office a second time in early December to confess to his inaccuracies and what he knew, according to prosecutors' statements in court and a plea agreement released Tuesday.

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