Rick Gates, who helped manage President Donald Trump's election, campaign with convicted felon Paul Manafort, testified on Thursday against former White House counsel Gregory Craig in a trial involving Ukraine's government.
Gates said Craig was an integral part of his team’s public relations strategy for enhancing Ukraine’s reputation, and that Craig initiated a briefing with The New York Times reporter David Sanger at the direction of Ukraine.
"The overall strategy worked. … The article wasn’t the greatest, but at least it was viewed neutrally, so it did have an impact. From our viewpoint, the success of it was very great," Gates said, according to Politico.
Craig was the first prominent Democratic figure to be charged in U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, and the case against him centers on work he did at his former law firm — Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher and Flom.
"According to Gates, Skadden lawyers, including Craig, were supposed to do 'background' calls with journalists ahead of the report’s release. This meant speaking to reporters about the contents of the report to ensure it was accurately represented," Bloomberg Law said.
Doug Schoen, longtime political consultant to Ukrainian businessman Viktor Pinchuk, testified under oath that Pinchuk paid $4 million to Craig to misrepresent the imprisonment of ex-Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko in October 2011. Pinchuk has denied the charge.