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first_imgGates pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy and making false statements in a federal courthouse in Washington and agreed to cooperate with Mueller’s team. The development seemed to represent clear and present danger for Manafort, whom Gates was accused of helping to launder $30m in corrupt payments from the former Soviet bloc through secret offshore bank accounts.Deepening Manafort’s trouble, new charges against him came to light late on Friday, alleging that he and Gates used millions from secret offshore accounts to pay senior European lawmakers to lobby US lawmakers on behalf of a Ukrainian client. The Europeans did not disclose the payments to US officials. In a statement released by a spokesman immediately upon the Gates plea, Manafort vowed to fight on.“Notwithstanding that Rick Gates pled today, I continue to maintain my innocence,” Manafort said. “I had hoped and expected my business colleague would have had the strength to continue the battle to prove our innocence. For reasons yet to surface he chose to do otherwise.“This does not alter my commitment to defend myself against the untrue piled-up charges contained in the indictments against me.”Last October, Gates and Manafort pleaded not guilty to 12 felony charges brought by Mueller, including a conspiracy to launder money and serving as unregistered foreign agents.On Thursday new criminal charges against the pair were unsealed, including tax fraud and bank fraud.Gates became the third known former Trump aide to plead guilty to making false statements in the course of the Mueller investigation into Russian meddling in the US presidential election. He was preceded by former national security adviser Michael Flynn and foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos.The cooperation of Gates with Mueller could also create new problems for Trump and his family, who have been caught up in the investigation by Mueller of Russian election tampering.Trump has attempted to distance himself from both Gates and Manafort, whose role in the presidential campaign he has downplayed.Manafort worked for the Trump campaign from March 2016 and was campaign manager from June to August that year.Gates was the Trump campaign’s liaison to the Republican National Committee and a member of the presidential transition team.On Friday Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House intelligence committee, which is investigating alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, said Gates was “in a position to observe the inner workings of the campaign at its most senior level” and “could prove a key source of information”. … we have a small favour to ask. The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.More people are reading and supporting The Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many news organisations, we have chosen an approach that allows us to keep our journalism accessible to all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford. But we need your ongoing support to keep working as we do.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism, to maintain our openness and to protect our precious independence. Every reader contribution, big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. Share on Facebook This article is more than 1 year old Reuse this content FBI Thomas Frank Email Share on Facebook Support The Guardian Defiant Manafort says ‘I had hoped my business colleague would have had the strength to continue the battle to prove our innocence’ Trump-Russia investigation: the key questions answered Share on Twitter news Former Donald Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort protested his innocence and vowed on Friday to fight numerous federal felony charges against him, after his former colleague and confidant Rick Gates cut a plea deal with special counsel Robert Mueller. Rick Gates leaves federal court in Washington on Friday. His guilty plea seemed to represent clear and present danger for Paul Manafort.Photograph: Susan Walsh/AP @TeeMcSee Share on Messenger Read more Shares210210 Europe Russia Ex-Trump chair Paul Manafort vows to fight ‘untrue’ charges as Gates cuts plea deal Fri 23 Feb 2018 17.09 EST Tom McCarthy and agencies Robert Mueller files 32 new fraud charges against ex-Trump aides Trump-Russia investigation Topics Share on WhatsApp Share on Pinterest First published on Fri 23 Feb 2018 11.06 EST Share on Twitter Trump administration Read more The hysteria over Russian bots has reached new levels Since you’re here… This article is more than 1 year old Donald Trump Gates, 45, was Manafort’s protege and partner in a political consultancy business in the former Soviet bloc, with a focus in Ukraine. Gates was actively involved in a campaign to boost the image and fortunes of Viktor Yanukovych, the pro-Kremlin former Ukrainian president.That work brought in $17m for Manafort’s lobbying firm between 2012 and 2014, payments that were not disclosed until last year after Mueller’s investigation into their business was well under way.After Trump fired Manafort in August 2016, Gates continued to work for the campaign. The known charges against Manafort and Gates do not appear to relate directly to their work on the Trump campaign.Manafort, who is preparing for trial, could now come under more pressure to seek a plea deal. Such deals involve promises to cooperate with an investigation in exchange for more lenient sentences. Any deal for Gates, who has a young family, would limit his risk of lengthy prison time. A “status report with regard to sentencing” was set for 14 May.The New York Times and ABC News first reported that Gates was expected to plead guilty, sourcing their reports to unidentified people familiar with the plea agreement. Share via Email Trump-Russia investigation Robert Mueller Share via Email Share on LinkedInlast_img read more