Former Trump deputy campaign manager Richard Gates is now the third Trump associate to strike a deal with special council Robert Mueller in the ongoing investigation into possible Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Gates, former business partner to Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign adviser, plead guilty on Friday to conspiracy and lying to the FBI— even while he was negotiating a deal with Mueller.
Hours later, Manafort was presented new charges, including an allegation he secretly recruited and funded a group of former European politicians to lobby for Ukraine in the United States.
This week, Gates and Manafort faced a new 32-count indictment in Virginia containing additional charges of tax and bank fraud.
In a statement of offense accompanying his plea agreement, Gates admitted he conspired with Manafort “in a variety of criminal schemes,” including shifting millions of dollars from offshore accounts disguised as loans, avoiding taxes.
These revelations come exactly one week after Robert Mueller indicted 13 Russian nationals and three Russian groups for their interference with presidential election.
“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, agreed to a plea deal.
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