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Rick Gates pleads guilty to conspiracy, lying to investigators

Rick Gates
Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images

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.

Jonathan Swan 2 hours ago
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Trump's two-front war

Photo: Jabin Botsford / The Washington Post via Getty Images

President Trump is ending the week with a flop — nowhere close to the border wall funding he wanted in the DACA-less spending bill that congressional leaders released last evening. But he's fulfilling one of his most aggressive campaign promises with his anti-China trade action.

The big picture: Trump's expected announcement today of tariffs on Chinese imports is a big deal, and analysts fear it could provoke a trade war — and it comes as Trump has been battling his own party here at home over the government spending bill.

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The worst flu season in eight years

Note: Activity levels are based on outpatient visits in a state compared to the average number of visits that occur during weeks with little or no flu virus circulation; Data: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Chart: Chris Canipe/Axios

This year's flu season caught many experts off guard with both its sustained prevalence and its virulence. At its peak, there was a higher level of flu-like illnesses reported than any other year during the past eight years. Watch in the visual as it hits its peak around Week 18.

Why it matters: Public health officials try to capture this data when developing the next year's vaccines. And, of course, they want to find better ways to prevent severe flu seasons. There's a "Strategic Plan" to develop a universal vaccine to protect against a wider range of influenza viruses, Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, tells Axios.