Mueller’s Rick Gates Filing May Lend A Clue About Today’s White House Turmoil

Alex Wong / Getty Images

As reported in the Inquisitr this morning, President Trump unleashed a flurry of missives on his Twitter account attacking Robert Mueller and the Special Counsel’s investigation into possible Russian interference in the 2016 election. Those attacks continued unimpeded through the morning hours.

While Mueller and his investigators have been notably silent during the investigation, the public is able to stay abreast of developments in the probe through Mueller’s court filings. The Mueller investigation has already made hundreds of criminal charges against dozens of people, and have already secured guilty pleas and cooperation from President Trump’s former campaign manager, former national security adviser, and several other former advisers. One of those advisers is Rick Gates, who was the deputy campaign chairman for President Trump in 2016 and was indicted along with Paul Manafort late last year.

As part of Gates’ plea deal, he is cooperating with the Mueller investigation in exchange for some leniency from the court. Gates’ sentencing is being held while his cooperation is being secured, and Mueller must make periodic reports to the court to update the status of Gates and other cooperating witnesses. In August, Mueller filed a report with the court to update the status of Gates.

In that August Joint Status Report, Mueller notes that Gates is cooperating in full with “the investigation.”

On Wednesday, Mueller filed the promised 90-day update on Gates.

At first glance, it seems that the only takeaway was that the Mueller investigation was likely to stretch into 2019, as he was asking the court for another 60 days to work with Gates. However, MSNBC host Rachel Maddow noticed a slight change. While the August report stated that Gates was cooperating with “the investigation,” the new report advises that Gates is cooperating in “several ongoing investigations.”

The Mueller investigation was even more quiet than usual over the past couple of months, following standard protocol to not influence the midterm elections. However, the day after the midterms, with President Trump facing a new reality of a Democrat-controlled House and the threat of numerous investigations and obstruction, the president fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions and replaced him with Acting Attorney General Matthew Whittaker. The move was seen by critics as a transparent ploy to derail the Mueller investigation, as Whittaker has been a vocal critic of both Mueller and the probe itself and has suggested that the investigation be limited or shut down completely. There have been multiple calls for Whittaker to recuse himself from oversight of the investigation, as Sessions had before him.

It has been reported that Trump confidant Roger Stone is expecting an indictment from Mueller, while Donald Trump, Jr. has expressed concern that he will be indicted as well after being exposed by Gates’ testimony, according to Think Progress. According to a March filing by Mueller, Gates was “directly communicating” with a Russian intelligence official in the months before the 2016 election.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) reported on November 2 that they had discovered a secret waiver that President Trump had signed regarding Solicitor General Noel Francisco, who would oversee the Mueller investigation should Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein either resign or be fired by President Trump. Francisco has ties to the investigation due to his involvement in the law firm Jones Day, which is representing the Trump Presidential Campaign in the investigation. However, President Trump issued Francisco an ethics waiver in April that would allow him to oversee the Mueller investigation should Rosenstein leave the administration. With knowledge of President Trump’s machinations coming to light regarding Francisco just before the election, President Trump instead turned to Whittaker.

Mueller appears to be rapidly closing in on President Trump and his inner circle in what has apparently become multiple investigations, and the dominoes may be beginning to fall as the truth is unraveled.