Special Counsel Robert Mueller filed a host of new charges this week against former Trump advisers Paul Manafort and Rick Gates (pictured above). The charges, some of which are linked to the pair’s political consulting work for a Kremlin ally in Ukraine, the Party of Regions, run the gamut from bank fraud to money laundering and implicate tens of millions of dollars passing through various off-shore accounts.
As news broke on Friday that Gates was expected to plead guilty–and presumably cooperate with Mueller’s investigation–I spoke with Andy Wright about these charges. What struck us the most was how these new allegations bring the Mueller investigation inside Trump’s presidential campaign. Gates, unlike his longtime mentor and boss, Manafort, who left the Trump campaign in August 2016 in the wake of reporting on his work in Ukraine, remained on Trump’s campaign staff through Election Day. All the while, he was allegedly engaged in the fraudulent activities outlined in Mueller’s indictment.
Not only does this mean that Gates was allegedly committing criminal acts while serving as a campaign official. If the allegations are true, campaign operative Gates, like his boss, may well have been vulnerable to pressure from Russian intelligence agencies who knew of the financial shenanigans the pair where undertaking in connection with their work for a Kremlin-backed political party in Ukraine.
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