What could this mean?
The big news regarding special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation last week was that former Trump campaign aide, Rick Gates, would plead guilty to additional charges of tax and bank fraud, and would be cooperating with Mueller’s investigation.
In other words, he was rolling over on his former partner, Paul Manafort.
Gates’ statement at the time was that it would be easier on his family to just take the guilty plea, in order to move along the proceedings and avoid the inevitable court battle.
Today, however, things have taken another surprising turn:
Mueller’s team are dismissing charges against him.
Mueller's team has officially proposed dismissing charges against RICK GATES, following last week's guilty plea. pic.twitter.com/AM69yxGtsm
— Kyle Cheney (@kyledcheney) February 27, 2018
It’s a shock move, given what Gates was charged with, and coming so soon after his entered guilty plea.
So why does this matter?
Mueller’s decision to drop the more expansive charges against Gates suggests that he may have provided good information for Mueller’s probe. Gates still faces an advisory sentence of 57 to 71 months under his guilty plea, per Bloomberg, but it’s worth noting that the “prosecution can request a shorter sentence but isn’t required to do so.” Gates pled guilty last week to charges filed in the District of Columbia on counts of conspiracy against the United States and lying to the FBI and the Special Counsel.
I’m guessing this news has further caused Manafort to sweat, as he seems to be the big fish Mueller is currently trying to reel in.