• Former Trump campaign aide and close Paul Manafort associate Rick Gates has pleaded guilty to two charges today, as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation. [NYT / Mark Mazzetti and Maggie Haberman]
  • Gates pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy against the United States and one count of making false statements to FBI agents. You can read the full plea deal here. [Vox / Dara Lind]
  • Of course, the important subtext here is that Mueller is likely getting Gates to flip and cooperate with his Russia investigation. As a key Trump campaign official, there’s a lot Gates could talk about. [Vox / Andrew Prokop]
  • News of the Gates plea deal came a day after Mueller’s team announced more than three dozen new charges against Gates and Manafort, including tax, financial, and bank fraud charges. [CNN / Katelyn Polantz and Kara Scannell]
  • This all stems from work Gates and Manafort did in Ukraine (it’s important to note this was before the 2016 election and before they began working for Trump). [Politico / Josh Gerstein and Theodoric Meyer]
  • Manafort’s history as a consultant working for Russian oligarchs and the former president of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych, was a huge political liability, but the Trump campaign still hired him. [Atlantic / Franklin Foer]
  • He’s the third Trump campaign official to plead guilty. No matter what the scope of Mueller’s investigation is, he just took a big step. [Washington Post / Philip Bump]

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