Paul Manafort and Rick Gates are central figures to this investigation, allow me to expand below. A Russian Oligarch, Oleg Deripaska, worked with them for years. Oleg Deripaska was recently in the news, he was the oligarch that was recorded by an escort. The recording shows him meeting a Russian Deputy Prime Minister a month after Manafort had established email correspondence with Deripaska. They were likely exchanging intelligence.
Rick Gates has been Manafort's right hand man for years and was very involved in the Trump campaign even after Manafort stepped down as Campaign Manager. Rick Gates is reportedly pleading guilty to charges laid out by Special Counsel Mueller's indictment, a clear indication that he is ready to cooperate with investigators.
Email correspondence between Russian Oligarch Oleg Deripaska and former Trump Campaign Manager Paul Manafort will be important in understanding why Manafort is a key figure to this investigation. According to videos recorded by an escort that were discovered by Russian opposition activist, Alexei Navalny, show Deripaska meeting a Russian Deputy Prime Minister on a yacht 1 month after the email correspondence between Manafort/Deripaska took place. Russia has threatened to block access to social media sites, such as YouTube and Instagram, if they do not remove the videos of Deripaska and Russian Deputy Prime Minister Prikhodko meeting on the yacht.
Paul Manafort was brought into the Trump campaign as Chairman to corral delegates at the convention, it was at this time where the Trump campaign pressured the GOP to make a specific change to the platform. An amendment proposed that the GOP commit to sending lethal weapons to Ukraine to fight Russian aggression was softened considerably at the request of the campaign. Paul Manafort has since been indicted by Special Counsel Mueller.
We know Paul Manafort offered to give a Russian billionaire private briefings on the campaign trail, the oligarch was Oleg Deripaska. Paul Manafort used a campaign account for the aforementioned email correspondence.
Gates and Manafort's ties to Deripaska are deep and date back at least a decade. They partnered over a massive real-estate deal in 2008.
Back in 2006 Paul Manafort offered a deal to Russian oligarch Deripaska where he indicated he would offer a great service in pushing Putin's policies abroad. He was paid very handsomely by Deripaska.
Manafort pitched the plans to aluminum magnate Oleg Deripaska, a close Putin ally with whom Manafort eventually signed a $10 million annual contract beginning in 2006, according to interviews with several people familiar with payments to Manafort and business records obtained by the AP. Manafort and Deripaska maintained a business relationship until at least 2009, according to one person familiar with the work.
“We are now of the belief that this model can greatly benefit the Putin Government if employed at the correct levels with the appropriate commitment to success,” Manafort wrote in the 2005 memo to Deripaska. The effort, Manafort wrote, “will be offering a great service that can re-focus, both internally and externally, the policies of the Putin government.”
In 2014 Deripaska sued Manafort for a cool $19 million claiming that Manafort and Gates had stolen funds intended for an investment. The Associated Press were the first ones to discover their business dealings and Deripaska attempted and failed at suing the AP for libel.
Furthermore, Paul Manafort worked as Trump's campaign chairman for free. In 2006 Manafort bought a condo in Trump Tower.
Paul Manafort was present at the infamous Trump Tower meeting where adoptions were discussed with Russian operatives. Adoptions is an established euphemism used in reference to the Magnitsky Act, sanctions that are meant to cripple the power of Putin. President Trump's son, son-in-law, and Campaign Manager met with Russians with the expectation of receiving damaging information about Clinton. One of the Russian operatives present at the infamous Trump Tower meeting, Rinat Akhmetshin, has ties to Russian intelligence and has a history of being embroiled in court cases related to hacking campaigns. During Simpson's Congressional testimony he confirmed that the Trump campaign likely received foreign intelligence aid as Manafort had close ties to Russian Intelligence. Manafort seems to have returned the favour via Deripaska.https://www.reddit.com/r/politics/comme ... in_hiring/