Feb 23, 2018

Axios PM

1 big thing: The Gates plea deal

Rick Gates arrives at the Prettyman Federal Courthouse for a plea hearing today. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Rick Gates pleaded guilty today to conspiracy against the U.S. and lying to the FBI.

  • What caught our eye: Gates admitted lying about his Ukraine-related activities from 2013 during a meeting with the FBI "on or about February 1, 2018..." [Read the charging document]
  • In a letter to his family, Gates wrote: "The reality of how long this legal process will likely take, the cost, and the circus-like atmosphere of an anticipated trial are too much. I will better serve my family moving forward by exiting this process.”
  • Paul Manafort statement: “Notwithstanding that Rick Gates pled today, I continue to maintain my innocence. I had hoped and expected my business colleague would have had the strength to continue the battle to prove our innocence. For reasons yet to surface he chose to do otherwise."

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 on May 14.

Go deeper: Every big move by Mueller

2. What you missed

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin briefs members of the media today on the new U.S. sanctions against North Korea. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

  1. Barak Ravid scoops: The U.S. embassy will move to Jerusalem on May 14th. Details. ... Sheldon Adelson has offered to help pay for it.
  2. Trump's 77-minute CPAC speech: He chose to return to his campaign trail rhetoric — including a full reading of his favorite immigration allegory, "The Snake" — and prompted the room to break into familiar chants of "lock her up!" and "build the wall!" He also made fun of his own hair. ... and gave his first joint press conference in a month.
  3. Florida Gov. Rick Scott broke with NRA norms today, saying he wants to raise the minimum age to purchase any firearm to 21, make it "virtually impossible" for the mentally ill to buy or own a gun, and implement mandatory law enforcement in every school. More.
  4. A growing list of companies are ending their partnerships with the NRA, as #BoycottNRA gains momentum on social media. The list.
  5. Google is bringing its augmented reality and Google Lens tools to more devices — and giving both new tricks. Details.
  6. Dropbox has filed for a $500 million initial public offering. It will list on the NASDAQ as DBX.
3. 1 film rant

"Flash and volume likely to defeat subtlety in this year's acting Oscar races" ... At the L.A. Times, film critic Justin Chang is growing weary of seeing the same winners for this year's Oscar crop, starting with Gary Oldman, who played Churchill in "The Darkest Hour":

  • "If he wins the Academy Award for lead actor on March 4, as he is widely expected to do, Oldman will likely earn another standing ovation ... An upset might still be brewing... but any other outcome would have to be reckoned a major surprise."
  • "The same goes for Frances McDormand, Sam Rockwell and Allison Janney, heavily favored to win the Oscars for lead actress, supporting actor and supporting actress, respectively."
  • "All four have already triumphed at the Critics' Choice Awards, the Golden Globes, the Screen Actors Guild Awards and the British Academy Film Awards..."

Correction: Yesterday's PM incorrectly said Oprah reworked her recent "60 Minutes" clip after being called out by President Trump. She actually said that she worked with a producer before the show aired to ensure it was balanced. I regret the error.