The Robert Mueller investigation is moving forward, with the special counsel now securing access to one of Trump’s closest aides. The Mueller investigation has been able to extract information from a variety of now-cooperative witnesses, from former campaign manager Paul Manafort to personal attorney Michael Cohen, and even campaign aides like Rick Gates. These individuals have flipped on Trump and are fully cooperating with the investigation to pinpoint any ties between the Trump administration and Russia collusion.
Gates has confessed to a list of financial crimes during his testimony against Manafort, with whom used to be business partners. In a memo filed with the US District Court for the District of Columbia Circuit, attorneys for Gates and Mueller stated that Gates has continued to be an asset in “several ongoing investigations.” Currently, Gates’ sentencing has been delayed so the Mueller investigation can probe him. Mueller stated:
[Gates] continues to cooperate with respect to several ongoing investigations, and accordingly, the parties do not believe it is appropriate to commence the sentencing process at this time.”
Earlier this year, Gates pled guilty to conspiracy and lying in a federal investigation. The charges leveraged against Gates were culled as part of his deal with Mueller and the Justice Department. But it was only the tip of the iceberg — during his trial in Virginia, Gates offered distinct details about his involvement in Manafort’s financial crimes. The Justice Department agreed to give the court another update by January 15, 2019.
There may be other associates that have flipped on Trump and who are positioning themselves to cooperate with the investigation. Michael Flynn pled guilty to lying to the FBI about his communications with Russian officials throughout 2016 — and his scheduled appearance in federal court starts on December 18.
While Mueller’s investigation is moving forward, it may be in danger. Right after the 2018 midterm elections, Trump fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions and replaced him with a loyalist named Matthew Whitaker. The Attorney General has influence over the investigation, and Whitaker has demonstrated allegiance to Trump and open criticism of the Mueller investigation. A recent bill intended to protect the Mueller investigation was rejected by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
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