After another school shooting rocked our nation Wednesday, we concluded the week with tremendous news on the Russian investigation front.
On Friday, special council Robert Mueller indicted 13 Russian nationals and three Russian groups for their interference with the 2016 presidential elections, an explosive revelation in the ongoing saga that has already brought to justice several of Donald Trump’s closest campaign allies.
One of those allies is Richard Gates, former deputy campaign manager and business partner to Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign adviser.
Now Gates has flipped and has agreed to testify against Manafort.
An unnamed individual with direct knowledge of developments, citing a judge’s gag order restricting comments to the media or public, said:
“Rick Gates is going to change his plea to guilty within the next few days.’’
According to a person familiar with conversations between Gates’ defense lawyer, Thomas C. Green, and Mueller’s prosecutors, senior assistant special counsels Andrew Weissmann and Greg D. Andres, Gates can expect “a substantial reduction in his sentence’’ if he fully cooperates with the investigation.
The charges against Gates and Manafort are not directly germane to the Trump campaign, but about alleged concealment of payments from Ukrainian business dealings for which Manafort and Gates are accused of being unregistered agents of former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych and his party. They are also charged with conspiring against the United States.
According to the indictment:
“[Gates and Manafort] laundered the money through scores of United States and foreign corporations, partnerships and bank accounts.’’
Does this mean we’re close to getting Trump?
According to Politicususa:
“Rick Gates won’t lead directly to Donald Trump, but Robert Mueller and his team are putting the pieces in place of a very complex puzzle. Rick Gates will lead to Paul Manafort who will like lead to either Jared Kushner, Donald Trump Jr, both, or other high-level members of Trump’s inner circle. The Gates plea is about getting Manafort to flip.”
Some pieces of that complex puzzle lead directly to Trump, though, especially pieces named Jared Kushner and Donald Trump Jr.
In June, it was revealed Donald Trump Jr., Paul Manafort, and Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, met with Kremlin-linked lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya the year before to receive damaging information on former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in exchange for the promise of President Trump’s easing Russian sanctions if elected.
In November, Trump’s former National Security Adviser, Michael Flynn, has agreed to a plea deal.
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