Rick Gates continued working for the Trump campaign even after his ex-business partner, Paul Manafort, left it in August 2016. Gates was so close with the campaign that he aided Tom Barrack, a personal friend of President Donald Trump, to organize the Trump inauguration.
Manafort joined the Trump campaign in March 2016, and Trump tapped him to serve as campaign chairman in May of that year. He left in August 2016, but Gates, his business partner and protege, continued to play an important role with the campaign even after Manafort’s departure. After the election Gates directed the inauguration plans, including fundraising, under Tom Barrack, Trump’s close friend and adviser.
Though Manafort was not in the White House, his longtime aide and ex-business partner Rick Gates, was.
Even as Trump officials downplay Manafort’s role, his decade-long business associate Rick Gates remains entrenched in the president’s operation. Gates is one of four people leading a Trump-blessed group that defends the president’s agenda. As recently as last week, he was at the White House to meet with officials as part of that work.
The Trump administration had the same exposure/access to Russian influence peddling through Gates as they did through Manafort, except Gates was working closely with the White House!
Through Manafort, Gates is tied to many of the same business titans from Ukraine and Russia, including Oleg Deripaska, a Russian oligarch with strong ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin. On Wednesday, the Associated Press reported that Manafort had a multimillion-dollar contract with Deripaska between at least 2005 and 2009 that was aimed at helping the political interests of Putin.