Breaking Down Mueller's Latest Indictment In Bulletpoints

 By: Kayla Pasacreta

Special Counsel Robert Mueller charged Alex Van Der Zwaan Tuesday morning with "willfully and knowingly make materially false, fictitious, and fraudulent statements," regarding his communications with former Trump campaign aide Rick Gates. This indictment is a little more puzzling to understand, so keep reading as we break it down for you! 

Who tf is Alex Van Der Zwaan?

Alex van der Zwaan, photo via  Axios

Alex van der Zwaan, photo via Axios

  • Zwaan has worked for some of the most powerful law-firms in the world. His work is centered around (you guessed it) the Soviet Union.
  • This indictment comes just 3 days after Mueller indicted 13 Russian nationalists for tampering with the 2016 US Election.
Paul Manafort, photo via  Newsweek

Paul Manafort, photo via Newsweek

What was he charged with?

  • FBI agents questioned him in November 2017 with former Trump campaign aide (and deputy to Paul Manafort) Rick Gates and an unidentified "Person A". Zwaan said their communication was minimal, nothing more than "innocuous text message", and insisted he hadn't spoken to the "Person A" in 3 years. This, Mueller's team found out, was a lie, and Zwaan was in fact in constant secret contact with both Gates and "Person A".

Why does this matter?

  • The timing is everything. In August 2014, the New York Times reported that secret Urkanian documents indicated former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort was accepting million dollars in illegal payments. This led to Manafort stepping down just days after the report.
  • As Axios puts it
If Gates and van der Zwaan were talking about the Skadden report in September 2016, and van der Zwaan felt the need to lie to the FBI about it, it suggests that there may have been something criminal about the report’s production — or at least, something whose release would be politically damaging.
— Axios

What does Mueller get from this?

  • If Zwaan pleads guilty and is willing to spill the beans on former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, Manafort may then spill the beans on Trump's personal ties with Russia..which will answer the question if Trump was really in on all of this Russia collusion.

This indictment shows us that Mueller's team is thorough. If you lie to them, they'll find out. Many people in Washington are most likely #shook and hoping they're not the next person Mueller comes for.

Kayla PasacretaComment