The Los Angeles Times reported over the weekend that Rick Gates, former campaign advisor to popular vote loser Donald Trump, had agreed to plead guilty for his role in the Trump/Russia scandal and that he had already had his interview and given up crucial information about Paul Manafort, who is thought to be likely to flip on Trump.
However, this week, Special Counsel Robert Mueller brought new criminal charges against both Gates and Manafort, which means that the Gates plea deal wasn’t finalized yet.
We have no reason to doubt the accuracy of LA Times report that released about a week ago, so it only leaves a few of possibilities as to what is going on here.
The first possibility is that Gates got cold feet at the very last minute and decided not to go forward with the deal. Another possibility is perhaps Gates decided he was going to hold out for a better deal from Mueller.
Whatever the case, something has caused Robert Mueller to hit Gates with even more criminal charges, a move that appears to be in effort to get Gates to finalize the plea deal.
Bill Palmer points out, Here’s the thing, though: Gates already gave up everything – including himself – during his proffer interview.
I’ve spoken with various legal experts who have been a part of processes like this, and they’ve all told me the same thing: once a suspect goes through with the proffer interview, there’s basically no going back. Not only did Gates give up what he has on Manafort, he also gave up what he has on himself. Mueller cannot directly use Gates’ testimony as evidence against him. However, Mueller can take whatever Gates confessed to, and use it to dig up evidence against Gates, and use that against him. Gates knows this, and he knows there’s no way possible that he can go to trial.
It’s hard to say exactly what is going on here, but one thing is certain…Rick Gates is still going to plead guilty. There’s no way for him to avoid it at this point. The moment he did the proffer interviews with Mueller, there was no turning back
Based on the fact that new criminal charges against Paul Manafort have been handed down, it certainly looks like Gates has already flipped on Manafort. Paul Manafort was using fraudulently obtained loans and tax-cheating tricks to prop up his personal finances as he became chairman of the Trump campaign in 2016, according to a new 32-count indictment filed against him and his business partner Thursday, according to the Washington Post.
So, regardless of what is going on with Gates, Mueller has Manafort in a corner that virtually guarantees he’s going to flip on someone very senior in the Trump-Russia scandal, perhaps Donald Trump himself.