Gates’ cooperation could be another building block for Mueller in a possible case against President Donald Trump or key members of his team.
Once a plea deal is in place, Gates would become the third known cooperator in Mueller’s sprawling probe into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. It would also increase the pressure to cooperate on Gates’ co-defendant Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign chairman, who has pleaded not guilty to Mueller’s indictment and is preparing for a trial on alleged financial crimes unrelated to the campaign.
…Manafort faces up to 15 years in prison if found guilty of nine charges and is still under house arrest. His attorney has pledged to fight the charges, and has even sued Mueller and the Justice Department for overreaching the purpose of their investigation with this case.
Manafort and Gates were at the helm of the campaign during the critical summer 2016 period when senior campaign officials, including Manafort, met a group of Russians at Trump Tower who had promised damaging information on Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. They were also in charge during the Republican National Convention when a handful of Trump campaign associates met with the Russian ambassador, and when Trump campaign officials intervened to change language on the platform about the Ukraine crisis.