Rick Gates is an American political consultant and lobbyist who is best known for being a key witness in the Paul Manafort trial as well as the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 United States presidential election.

Prior to his legal troubles, Gates did consulting work for pro-Russian politicians in Ukraine before becoming a second in Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.

Youth and education

Rick Gates was born Richard William Gates III on April 27, 1972, in Fort Lee, Virginia, United States. He is the son of Patricia and Richard W. Gates Jr., a retired U.S. Army Lt. Col. who founded and served as CEO of information management and technology company, Gates Group International .

Gates spent his childhood living in various military posts in the United States and overseas in Germany before his family was able to settle in Prince George, a metropolitan area of ​​Richmond, Virginia. He attended Prince George High School where he graduated in 1990 before enrolling at the College of William & Mary to study government.

Rick Gates, who was a member of the Sigma Chila fraternity while in college, graduated in 1994 and accepted an internship at the Washington, D.C.-based consulting and lobbying firm Black, Manafort, Stone and Kelly. After his time there, Gates reportedly got into the gaming business, married his wife Sarah Garnett, and earned a master’s degree in public policy from George Washington University.

In 2006, Gates returned to lobbying, taking a job at one of his former bosses, Paul Manafort and lobbyist firm Rick Davis in Kyiv, Ukraine. Here, Gates worked with many prominent figures, including Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska and then Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych. In 2016, Gates took on a role as deputy campaign manager for Donald Trump’s bid for president. After Trump’s victory, Gates became vice chairman of Donald Trump’s inaugural committee.

In late 2017, long after Trump was sworn in, Rick Gates was arrested for his role in allowing Russia to interfere with the 2016 US election as well as his overseas work with Manafort.

Connection of Rick Gates to Paul Manafort

Rick Gates’ relationship with Paul Manafort goes back to the 90s when he first worked for the latter’s lobbying firm as an intern. The two later worked together as political consultants in Ukraine before also serving as No. 1 and No. 2 in Trump’s presidential campaign.

Manafort himself lobbied for many other foreign leaders, including the Philippines’ Ferdinand Marcos, Mobutu Sese Seko of Zaire and Jonas Savimbi of Angola, however, it was his work with Yanukovych of Ukraine that knocked the hammer down. on him.

It is required by the United States. Department of Justice that lobbyists serving the interests of foreign governments to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), which Manafort and Gates have not done. The FBI, along with several other federal agencies, reportedly had active criminal investigations against Manafort for his dealings with Yanukovych who unwittingly roped in his associate Gates.

Connection with Russia and Trump

After the 2016 United States Presidential Election, the US Intelligence Community found that Russia was actively trying to interfere with the electoral process to cause political instability in its former Cold War rival and also to damage chances of victory. of Hillary Clinton. Russia has been said to favor the candidacy of Donald Trump whom it says would be easier to work with than others. Russia was able to achieve this by spreading and promoting false information on social media and hacking into the email accounts and networks of Democratic Party officials.

After Trump took office, the FBI and the Justice Department began looking into Russian election interference for possible direct ties between the Kremlin and the Trump campaign. Around this time, Paul Manafort and his associate, Rick Gates, became a person of interest as they previously had suspicious ties to the Eastern European nation.

Rick Gates has since become a starwitness to investigators, agreeing to testify against Manafort for a fairer plea deal while investigators hope Manafort will be able to release information about how Russia helped Trump’s campaign.