Feb 23, 2018

Report: Rick Gates expected to plead guilty in Mueller probe

Richard Gates arrives at the Prettyman Federal Courthouse for a hearing December 11, 2017. Photo: Mark Wilson / Getty Images

Rick Gates, Trump's former campaign advisor and Paul Manafort's business partner, is expected to plead guilty in the special counsel's Russia probe as soon as Friday afternoon, reports the New York Times.

Why it matters: "The plea deal could be a significant development in the investigation — a sign that Mr. Gates plans to offer incriminating information against his longtime associate and the former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, or other members of the Trump campaign in exchange for a lighter punishment." [NYT]

Timing: Yesterday, Mueller brought 32 new charges, including money laundering and bank fraud, against Manafort and Gates, strengthening his case against the former Trump aides. The men were first indicted in October, and both pleaded not guilty.

Why plead guilty now? The Times says Gates' "primary concern" is protecting his family, "both emotionally and financially, from the prospect of a drawn-out trial." Gates also has an opportunity to offer Mueller's team "a first-person account of the criminal conduct" alleged in the indictments.

The backdrop: Apart from Manafort and Gates, Mueller has secured four other guilty pleas in relation to his probe, two of which came from former Trump advisors — Mike Flynn and George Papadopoulos.

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Trump administration asks Congress for $2.5 billion to fight coronavirus

President Trump with Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar at the White House in September. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The Trump administration sent a letter to Congress Monday requesting a funding commitment of at least $2.5 billion to help combat the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Details: The request for a lump sum account for the Department of Health and Human Services includes $1.25 billion in new funds to fight COVID-19 and $535 would come from untouched funds for the Ebola virus.

WHO won't call coronavirus a pandemic as cases spread

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The World Health Organization will not yet call the coronavirus a pandemic, claiming that needs across affected countries are too varied and the classification would increase fear, per a briefing Monday.

The big picture: As South Korea and Italy stepped up emergency measures in efforts to thwart the spread of the virus, WHO expressed concern about infections with no clear link to China. COVID-19 has killed at least 2,620 people and infected almost 80,000 others, with all but 27 deaths occurring in mainland China.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 4 hours ago - Health

The global scramble to contain the coronavirus

Taking precaution, in the Philippines. Photo: Ezra Acayan/Getty Images

The coronavirus is spreading quickly in cities nowhere near Wuhan, China, and the window to prevent a global pandemic is narrowing.

Zoom in: Here's a look at what comes with a coronavirus outbreak in communities outside China that have been hardest hit so far.

Go deeperArrow4 hours ago - World