The top aide to Trump’s indicted Campaign Manager just did something that virtually guarantees he is pleading guilty to charges from Special Counsel Mueller.
Rick Gates was not just the top aide to Paul Manafort during Trump’s campaign but was his business partner for the better part of a decade in Eastern Europe. Gates’ plea isn’t surprising since he’s facing additional charges and his dwindling cash position spurred a controversial legal defense fundraiser at a scuzzy Washington-area Holiday Inn and later an exodus of legal counsel.
Sources familiar with the Special Counsel’s probe say that Gates has already had his “Queen for a Day” interview where he can tell all to Mueller’s investigators without further consequences, protected by turning state’s evidence. CNN reports:
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Former Trump campaign adviser Rick Gates is finalizing a plea deal with special counsel Robert Mueller’s office, indicating he’s poised to cooperate in the investigation, according to sources familiar with the case.
“Nobody (who’s charged) goes in to provide incriminating information to the government unless it’s part of plea negotiations,” said a criminal defense attorney who represents a witness in the case. In a Queen for a Day interview, a defendant can typically admit to crimes with little additional consequences, unless he or she lies.
After the interview, there’s a very small chance a defendant could turn back toward fighting the charges, according to several lawyers who specialize in federal criminal cases
Nobody is certain of the specific importance of Gates’ testimony related to Russia, but it could be wide-ranging as he continued working with the Trump Campaign as a liaison from the Republican National Committee, even after Paul Manafort was fired.
However, everyone is certain that Rick Gates’ testimony will probably be enough to put Paul Manafort away in federal prison for a long, long time since the pair is charged together for conspiring to commit the same crimes.
Regardless of his testimony about Russia itself, Rick Gates spent a lot of time making himself an indispensable man in the Trump camp; the RNC paid Gates to work for Trump through one of the Limited Liability Companies listed in Mueller’s October indictment. He also worked on the Trump Transition.
Mueller has been treating the special counsel’s probe like a Mafia prosecution, convicting the lieutenants to roll up convictions of the bigger bosses to get to the top.
Taking down Rick Gates looks like the key to convicting Paul Manafort, and the only man above Paul Manafort facing indictment in Mueller’s probe would be President Trump.
Donald Trump spent an entire presidential campaign pitching empty promises to bring in “all the best people,” when he was, in fact, pinching pennies and filling his campaign with the vilest Republican operatives on the planet.
Now, all his best people are getting ready to pay a terrible price for his parsimony, when the third top campaign aide pleads guilty to Special Counsel Mueller, removing a “Queen for a day” out of the bottom of Trump’s shaky house of cards.