Criminally Charged Trump Officials Turn On Each Other; Testimony Announcement Goes Viral

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In October, longtime Manafort aide and Trump campaign advisor Rick Gates was indicted, along with Paul Manafort himself, on a variety of charges, including money laundering and conspiracy.

More recently, reports surfaced that Gates is close to reaching a plea deal with Mueller.

usenow18 Criminally Charged Trump Officials Turn On Each Other; Testimony Announcement Goes Viral Crime Donald Trump Politics Russia Top Stories
WASHINGTON, DC – FEBRUARY 07: Former Trump Aide Rick Gates attends a hearing on his fraud, conspiracy and money-laundering at the E. Barrett Prettyman United States Courthouse on February 7, 2018 in Washington, DC. Gates, who is charged along with former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, was in court seeking to change his legal representation. (Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images)

Not only that, but according to the LA Times, he’ll be fully cooperative and plans to testify against Manafort. That would make him the third Trump campaign official to be flipped as a witness. Here’s more:

A former top aide to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign will plead guilty to fraud-related charges within days – and has made clear to prosecutors that he would testify against Paul J. Manafort Jr., the lawyer-lobbyist who once managed the campaign.

According to a person familiar with those talks, Gates, a longtime political consultant, can expect “a substantial reduction in his sentence” if he fully cooperates with the investigation. He said that Gates is apt to serve about 18 months in prison.

When it comes down to it, he might not be able to afford a protracted legal battle:

Gates, 45, who is married with four children, does not appear to be well positioned financially to sustain a high-powered legal defense.

“He can’t afford to pay it,” said one lawyer who is involved with the investigation. “If you go to trial on this, that’s $1 million to $1.5 million. Maybe more, if you need experts” to appear as witnesses.

It’s pretty clear what Mueller’s strategy is—once he saw the easy-to-prove money laundering charges, he used criminal charges (and the threat of prison time that goes along with them) to turn aides into cooperative witnesses. Now that Flynn, Gates and Papadopoulos have all flipped, things are looking worse and worse for higher ups on the Trump campaign.

usenow2 Criminally Charged Trump Officials Turn On Each Other; Testimony Announcement Goes Viral Crime Donald Trump Politics Russia Top Stories

More than likely, Gates will be used as a witness against more than Manafort (although that could be interesting enough—remember that time Manafort’s own daughter said he’s had people killed?). He stayed with the Trump team as a senior advisor up to the inauguration. Given his and Manafort’s extensive work laundering money for pro-Russian Ukrainian politicians, it seems probable that one or both were points of contact for the Russian team we now know is responsible for attempting to sabotage the election.

usenow3 Criminally Charged Trump Officials Turn On Each Other; Testimony Announcement Goes Viral Crime Donald Trump Politics Russia Top Stories

Here’s how Trump’s perspective on Manafort shifted as investigators got closer (he’ll probably pretend he’s never met him once he flips, too):

Featured image via Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images