Rick Gates is an American political consultant and lobbyist that is best known for being a key witness in the Paul Manafort trial as well as in the investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 United States Presidential Election.
Before his legal troubles, Gates did consulting work for pro-Russian political figures in Ukraine before going on to serve as the second in command in the Donald Trump presidential campaign.
Early Life and Education
Rick Gates was born Richard William Gates III on the 27th of April, 1972, in Fort Lee, Virginia, U.S. He is the son of Patricia and Richard W. Gates Jr., a retired U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel who founded and served as CEO of management and information technology firm, Gates Group International.
Gates spent his childhood living in different military posts across the United States as well as overseas in Germany before his family was able to settle in Prince George, a metro 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 Chi fraternity during his time in college, graduated in 1994 and took up an internship position at the Washington, D.C.-based consulting and lobbying firm; Black, Manafort, Stone, and Kelly. After his time there, Gates reportedly went into the gaming business, got married to his wife Sarah Garnett, and acquired a Master of Public Policy degree from George Washington University.
In 2006, Gates returned to the lobbying business, taking up a job in one of his old bosses, Paul Manafort and lobbyist Rick Davis’ firm in Kiev, Ukraine. Here, Gates worked with numerous high-profile people most notably Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska and the then Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych. In 2016, Gates took up a role as assistant campaign manager for Donald Trump’s bid to become president. After Trump’s victory, Gates became the deputy chairman of the Donald Trump Inaugural Committee.
By late 2017, well after Trump had taken the oath of office, Rick Gates was arrested for his role in supposedly allowing Russia to interfere with the 2016 United States elections as well as his overseas work with Manafort.
Rick Gates Connection To Paul Manafort
Rick Gates’ relationship with Paul Manafort dates 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 number 1 and 2 in the Trump Presidential campaign.
Manafort himself has lobbied for numerous other foreign leaders, including Philippines Ferdinand Marcos, Zaire’s Mobutu Sese Seko, and Angola’s Jonas Savimbi, however, it was his work with Ukraine’s Yanukovych that brought the hammer down on him.
It is required by the U.S. Justice Department that lobbyists serving the interests of foreign governments register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) which Manafort and Gates failed to do. The FBI, along with multiple other federal agencies, was said to have had active criminal investigations against Manafort for his dealing with Yanukovych which inadvertently roped in his business associate Gates.
Connection To Russia and Trump
Following the 2016 U.S. Presidential election, the U.S. Intelligence Community found that Russia actively tried to interfere with the electoral process to bring about political instability in its former Cold War rival and also to damage the chances of Hillary Clinton winning. It was said that Russia favored the candidacy of Donald Trump whom it felt would be easier to work with than the others. Russia was able to achieve this by spreading and promoting fake news on social media and also by hacking the email accounts and networks of Democratic Party officials.
After Trump assumed office, the FBI and the Justice Department began to look into Russia’s election interference with possible direct links between Kremlin and the Trump Campaign. At this time, Paul Manafort and his business associate Rick Gates became people of interest since they had prior suspicious ties to the Eastern European nation.
Rick Gates has since that time become a star witness for investigators, agreeing to testify against Manafort for a fairer plea deal while the investigators hope that Manafort will be able to relinquish information on how exactly Russia helped Trump’s campaign.