Rick Gates pleads guilty to conspiracy, lying to investigators
Appearing in court today, former Trump campaign aide Rick Gates pled guilty to one count of conspiracy against the United States and one count of making false statements to the FBI and to the Special Counsel at a meeting last month. In preparation for the guilty plea, Robert Mueller filed superseding criminal information earlier today which alleged Gates and Manafort laundered tens of millions of dollars that they earned through their work for the Ukrainian government.
Why it matters: Mueller now has the cooperation of a key player who worked closely with the Trump campaign, and stayed on the team even after Manafort resigned as campaign manager. Manafort released a statement today maintaining his innocence, but the pressure is at an all-time high now that his former partner is ready to talk.
What's next: Federal guidelines suggest Gates will face a sentence of 57 to 71 months, but these are only advisory and are subject to discretion, per Bloomberg. Gates' status hearing is for May 14, indicating the Mueller probe has no intention of winding down before then.