JUST IN: White House Special Counsel Robert Mueller just rocked Washington D.C. with a major announcement.
Prosecutors on Mueller’s team just charged a lawyer connected to former Trump campaign adviser Rick Gates with lying to investigators during an interview about his communications with Gates. Fox News reported that Alex Van Der Zwaan has been charged with making false statements to investigators in an interview about his time working for a law firm employed by the Ukraine Ministry of Justice in 2012, when he helped draw up a report on the trial of Ukrainian politician Yulia Tymoshenko.
The charge was filed immediately before a plea hearing which is set to take place on Tuesday afternoon.
The firm, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, told reporters that it hired Van Der Zwaan last year and that it has been cooperating with Mueller’s investigation. Van Der Zwaan has been accused of lying about his last communication with Gates, who was indicted in October along with former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort on charges related to their work in Ukraine.
Gates, who was previously Manafort’s business partner, is likely to plead guilty to fraud-related charges in the next few days as part of a plea deal with Mueller. Court documents state that Van Der Zwaan said he “did not know why an email between him and Person A in September 2016 was not produced to the Special Counsel’s Office” and that his last communication with Gates was in August 2016. The documents also state that he claimed that his last communication with an unidentified “Person A” was in 2014.
However, Mueller’s team have accused him of communicating with Gates and Person A in September 2016, and said that he deleted “and otherwise did not produce emails” sought by Mueller’s office — including an email between him and “Person A” in September 2016.
This comes days after Mueller’s team indicted 13 Russians and three Russian companies for allegedly interfering in the 2016 election. What do you think about these new charges? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section.