Special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation continued to escalate on Thursday, with a new report indicating that another former Donald Trump campaign adviser has flipped and is cooperating with the investigation – a bad sign for the president and his team.
According to CNN, “Former Trump campaign adviser Rick Gates is finalizing a plea deal with special counsel Robert Mueller’s office, indicating he’s poised to cooperate in the investigation, according to sources familiar with the case.”
More from the CNN report:
Gates’ cooperation could be another building block for Mueller in a possible case against President Donald Trump or key members of his team.
Once a plea deal is in place, Gates would become the third known cooperator in Mueller’s sprawling probe into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. It would also increase the pressure to cooperate on Gates’ co-defendant Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign chairman, who has pleaded not guilty to Mueller’s indictment and is preparing for a trial on alleged financial crimes unrelated to the campaign. Gates pleaded not guilty on October 30 alongside Manafort.
In short, this is bad news for Trump. As CNN noted, each time another former Trump confidant flips on their former boss and starts cooperating with Mueller, the special counsel gets another “building block” in its growing case against Trump.
Democratic Congressman Ted Lieu pointed out the importance of the news on Twitter a short time ago:
If Rick Gates story is accurate, at least 3 witnesses have now flipped against the @realDonaldTrump campaign. Gates was the Deputy Campaign Manager for Trump & may have seen criminality. His plea also puts pressure on Manafort to plea because Gates would testify against Manafort. https://t.co/lfo5wwULdg
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) February 15, 2018
Robert Mueller is ignoring the outside noise and pushing ahead
Despite an all-out assault on the FBI and Justice Department by Republicans desperate to save Trump from this investigation, Robert Mueller continues to run a thorough inquiry into Russia’s involvement in the 2016 election and whether Trump has obstructed justice.
According to NBC News, former chief White House strategist Steve Bannon also met with Mueller multiple times over the past week.
The evidence of obstruction has been mounting for some time as the president repeatedly pressured – or even fired – the very same people conducting the investigation. Last summer, Trump even ordered Mueller fired but was forced to back down by the top White House lawyer.
The news that another Trump adviser has decided to cooperate should worry the president. The more former Trump officials that flip, the worse this will turn out for the White House.
Sean Colarossi currently resides in Cleveland, Ohio. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and was an organizing fellow for both of President Obama’s presidential campaigns. He also worked with Planned Parenthood as an Affordable Care Act Outreach Organizer in 2014, helping northeast Ohio residents obtain health insurance coverage.