Shortly after Rick Gates‘ plea agreement in February 2018, I appeared on MSNBC’s “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell” to discuss its implications. I suggested that Gates could be a far bigger problem for Trump than Paul Manafort (assuming Manafort eventually flipped, too). The reason: After Manafort resigned from the Trump campaign in August 2016, Gates remained — all the way through the transition. Gates could provide continuity in telling the Trump-Russia story that Manafort could not. And Trump does not want that story told.
An earlier post highlighted some of the entries that emerge when applying the Rick Gates name filter to the Trump-Russia Timeline. He intersects with several key players in the story: Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) (“Putin’s Favorite Congresman”), Jared Kushner, Donald Trump Jr., George Papadopoulos, Brad Parscale (Trump’s 2016 campaign digital director, now manager of Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign), Oleg Deripaska (Russian oligarch), and the NRA, to name a few.
Last week, another piece of the Gates-related narrative emerged. Within days of joining the Trump campaign in March 2016, Gates solicited proposals from Psy-Group (an Israeli company) to create fake online identities, use social media manipulation, and gather intelligence that would help defeat Trump’s Republican primary opponents and Hillary Clinton. In August 2016, Psy-Group’s owner, who had previously worked with Oleg Deripaska and Dmitry Rybolovlev (another Russian oligarch who had bought Trump’s Florida mansion for more than twice what Trump had paid for it three years earlier; check out the Deripaska and Rybolovlev name filter entries on the Timeline), met with Donald Trump Jr. at Trump Tower.
Curiouser and curiouser.
Here’s a complete list of the latest updates to the Trump-Russia Timeline:
MARCH 30-31, 2016: Gates Seeks Proposals For Social Medial Manipulation Campaign
AUG. 3, 2016: Don Jr. Meets With Emissary From Saudi Arabia and UAE (revision of previous entry)
FEB. 20, 2017: Russian Ambassador to UN Dies Suddenly
FEB. 16, 2018: Grand Jury Indicts Internet Research Agency and Russian Nationals; Pinedo Plea Agreement Released (revision of previous entry)
OCT. 8, 2018: Hicks Joins Fox
OCT. 8, 2018: Rosenstein Gets Reprieve
OCT. 11, 2018: Simpson Reaffirms Refusal to Testify
OCT. 14, 2018: Trump on 60 Minutes: Blasts Sessions; Denies Collusion; Equivocates on Whether He’ll Shut Down Mueller