The NY Times profiled him in June
Nearly everywhere Paul Manafort went, it seemed, Rick Gates followed, his protégé and junior partner. Election campaigns in Eastern Europe and Africa. Business ventures with a Russian tycoon. The upper ranks of Donald J. Trump’s presidential campaign.
The two men met nearly three decades ago when Mr. Gates was an intern at Black, Manafort, Stone, Kelly, a high-powered Washington consulting firm.
The firm specialized in running Republican campaigns and then lobbying the politicians they had helped elect. In Washington, Mr. Manafort worked to smooth the rough edges of various dictators and strongmen, among them Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines and Mobutu Sese Seko of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The Trump Organization was also a client, employing the firm to lobby the Treasury Department on casino transaction rules and to guide Mr. Trump’s ill-fated New York-Washington airline venture.
“Rick was Paul’s business guy,” said Tad Devine, a Democratic political consultant who worked with Davis Manafort on the Ukraine campaigns.
Essentially, Gates started several overseas private ventures with Manafort (not all of them successful). Eventually, Trump tapped Manafort to take over his (then troubled) candidacy.
In the spring of 2016, when Mr. Trump found himself outmaneuvered in the arcane battle for Republican convention delegates, he turned to Mr. Manafort. Mr. Gates came along as his deputy — the man behind the man in charge. In a campaign known for its factionalism, Mr. Gates won over colleagues by managing the mundane but essential work of daily operations. He traveled often with Mr. Trump and forged relationships with Reince Priebus, the future chief of staff, and Brad Parscale, the campaign’s digital director.
Those ties enabled Mr. Gates to outlast his mentor last summer, when Mr. Manafort was ousted. Mr. Gates moved to the Republican National Committee, helping iron out joint fund-raising agreements and other contracts with Mr. Trump’s campaign.
Mr. Gates was soon established in Mr. Trump’s circle. Before the first presidential debate, he glad-handed with Michael T. Flynn, Mr. Trump’s top security adviser — now also a subject of the federal investigations — and Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire casino mogul. At an election night party, Mr. Gates hit it off with Thomas J. Barrack Jr., the wealthy Los Angeles investor, who hired Mr. Gates to help run Mr. Trump’s inaugural.
Once the Russia investigation dug deeper into Manafort's ties with Russia, Gates was removed.