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February 2018


How to Become a Bounty Hunter

Third Trump Campaign Aide Pleads Guilty in Special Counsel Probe

Special counsel Robert Mueller. Photo via FBI.

By Steve Neavling

A former Trump campaign aide on Friday became the third associate of President Trump to plead guilty to conspiracy and lying to investigators in connected to the quickly evolving special counsel investigation.

Rick Gates pleaded guilty to conspiracy and lying to investigators as part of a deal to cooperate with Robert Mueller’s team of prosecutors in exchange for leniency. Gates is believed to have incriminating evidence against his longtime business partner and former Trump campaign leader Paul Manafort, who has pledged to fight the charges.

Later Friday, Manafort was charged for a second time in one day, the latest charge claiming he was secretly paying former European politicians to lobby on behalf of Ukraine.

Gates admitted he was part of a conspiracy to conceal tens of millions of dollars that he and Manafort received for lobbying and consulting work related to Ukrainian politicians who are strong allies of Russia.

Earlier in the day, Gates and Manafort were charged in a 32-count indictment that comes on top of fraud and money-laundering charges filed in October against Manafort and Gates, both of whom played a prominent role in Trump’s campaign and were the first charged as part of Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference.

The indictment does not mention work they did for Trump’s campaign, but Gates played a prominent role in the campaign.

The charges come just two days after Alex Van der Zwaan, a prominent, Russian-connected attorney, was charged with misleading the FBI about work he did for Manafort and Gates. 

Last week, 13 Russians were charged in a sweeping indictment alleging they waged a propaganda campaign to help Trump get elected. 

The other Trump associates who have pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors are Trump’s former national security adviser Mike Flynn and ex-campaign adviser George Papadopoulos.

Gates will follow Mike Flynn, Trump’s short-tenured national security adviser, and former campaign adviser George Papadopoulos in pleading guilty to charges filed by Mueller, who is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible ties to the Trump operation.

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