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Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort arrives at federal court in Washington. 

WASHINGTON (AP) — A former top adviser to President Donald Trump’s campaign is expected to plead guilty in the special counsel’s Russia probe, a person familiar with the decision said Friday.

The decision by Rick Gates could indicate he is planning to cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

The person said Gates, a longtime associate of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, could enter the plea as early as Friday. The person, who spoke on condition of anonymity in order to discuss private conversations, said Gates had informed family and friends in a letter about his decision.

It would mark the fifth publicly known guilty plea in the special counsel probe into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin during the 2016 campaign. A spokesman for Mueller did not respond to requests for comment.

The Gates plea would come a day after a federal grand jury in Virginia returned a 32-count indictment against him and Manafort accusing them of tax evasion and bank fraud. It was the second round of charges against the two men.

The plea also comes quickly on the heels of a stunning indictment last week that laid out a broad operation of election meddling by Russia, which began in 2014, and employed fake social media accounts and on-the-ground politicking to promote the campaign of Donald Trump, disparage Hillary Clinton and sow division and discord widely among the U.S. electorate.

Gates initially pleaded not guilty and has been facing up to 12.5 years in jail — based on a 12-count indictment handed up in October accusing him and Manafort of acting as unregistered foreign agents and conspiring to launder millions of dollars they earned while working on behalf of a pro-Russian Ukrainian political party.

His guilty plea will almost certainly reduce the prison sentence he could have faced if convicted at trial of all counts.

A sealed charge in the case this week as well as closed-door discussions in recent weeks had brought speculation that a plea deal for Gates or some other development might be near. Gates’ lawyers had filed a motion this month indicating that they had reached “irreconcilable differences” with their client. His new lawyer, veteran Washington white-collar attorney Thomas Green, formally took over Thursday.

Green did not respond to a request for comment Friday. Green, a high-powered defense attorney, won a plea deal for former House Speaker Dennis Hastert after he was charged with concealing nearly $1 million of $1.7 million in secret payments to hide allegations of sexual abuse.

Rick Gates departs Federal District Court in Washington.

As he was kept on house arrest, Gates frequently pleaded with U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson for leniency to attend sporting events with his four children.

If Gates agrees to become a cooperating witness as part of a plea deal, he could give Mueller a closer look into Manafort’s years of political consulting work in Ukraine, as well as other events that have sparked the interest of federal investigators.

Gates had access at the highest levels of the campaign at the same time that Manafort, Donald Trump Jr. and Jared Kushner met with a team of Russians in Trump Tower in June 2016. He was also in the top ranks of the campaign when then-Sen. Jeff Sessions held a pair of undisclosed meetings with Russian ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak.

For a few months in 2016, Gates was indispensable to Trump, leading the ground effort to help Trump win the Republican nomination and flying from state to state to secure Republican delegates in a scramble that lasted all the way until the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.

But his power and influence waned once Trump fired Manafort in August 2016 after The Associated Press disclosed how Gates and Manafort covertly directed a Washington lobbying campaign on behalf of Ukrainian interests.

Gates survived his mentor’s ouster and worked through the election on Trump’s inaugural committee — but among Trump aides he earned the nickname “the walking dead.” Gates also worked briefly with the outside political groups supporting Trump’s agenda, America First Policies and America First Action, but was pushed out of that job last year.

Gates was working for Tom Barrack, a close friend of Trump’s, when he was indicted last October.

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(AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File & AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

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22 thoughts on “Ex-Trump Campaign Aid Agrees To Guilty Plea In Russia Probe

  1. Passing Through! on said:

    How in the f**k could President Obama have doubled the debt when he left office with a thriving economy, stupid.
    ****
    The economy gained a net 11.6 million jobs. The unemployment rate dropped to below the historical norm. Average weekly earnings for all workers were up 4.1 percent after inflation. The gain was 3.7 percent for just production and home ownership rate hit the lowest point in half a century. Wind and solar power increased 369 percent. By the time Obama left office, the jobless rate was down to 4.8 percent — well below the historical norm of 5.6 percent…In fiscal year 2015, the deficit was $438 billion, a drop of 69 percent from FY 2009.The percentage of all U.S. residents who lack coverage dropped sharply, from 14.7 percent the year before Obama entered the White House to 9.0 percent in his final year — the lowest on record.
    ***
    Repeating bullshit talking points from the right because they feed your racist delusion that President Obama is a failure, not even close. But keep trying.

  2. AHHAHAHAh Foreign countries took that kenyan clown as a joke. He had no negotiating skills and his own wife dominated the 140 pound transvestite. Trump will not be impeached but if it makes you black supremacist a-s feel better than keep repeating it. Double our national debt! Destroyed our economy, created isis,

  3. KKK? If you did your research you racist pig you would know the KKK was founded by Democraps. Now the kenyan hung up with black supremacists Sharpton , Farracoon, and Jeremiah Wright so the kenyan is the found of the black supremacists. Still no answer how this devil could put billions onto a plane to terrorist Iran? Nope

  4. Blowing the whistle? The racist kenyan illegally phone tapped trump tower. Don’t worry this will all come out and the kenyan will be the one in the slammer!

    • Passing Through! on said:

      No dumbass, the tap was on the Russians phone & they just so happened to get several members of trump’s team talking to the Russians. OBama couldn’t tap trump’s phone without obtaining a Fisa Warrent first. Stop believing that shit you’re getting from Fox news it makes you look stupid.

      • I don;t get my information from Fox News. You, on the other hand get your information from black supremacist sites. Trump was right that pig was the founder of Isis and hung out with black supremacists like Farrcoon and Sharpton and not a peep on this from the media. The pandering and appeasing is mind boggling. BTW what was the problem with your boy Shani Davis? The coin toss was racist ? Really. That is a new low for the worst racists on the planet, blacks. Was he expecting to see Al Sharpton on the coin?

      • Passing Through! on said:

        No such thing as a black supremacist, you dumb racist peckerwood. If Obama founded ISIS then trump is the CEO of the KKK. Oh but I forgot trump’s Natzi German Jew killing father was in the Kkk, no suprise he & his family turned out to be the worst group of no class animals to occupy the white house. That’s why they’re all going to prison.

    • Passing Through! on said:

      But the Kenyan who governed successfully for 8 years isn’t the one going to prison BITCH!!! trump is finished he’s going down the writing is clearly on the wall!! Deal with it racist.

    • According to who? Farracoon? Doubled our national debt, told millions of lies especially on odumbocare, hire the most crooked attorney general in history in Eric “black panther” Holder. One year in and nothing! When this happen you clown? LOL. And what would be your end game! Pence would then become president and he is more conservative than Trump. You still won’t get your black supremacist special priviliges like you did under odumbo. Man are you a dumb blackboy!

    • Passing Through! on said:

      The end will be donald dump gets impeached Mike Puss takes over until 2020 & will be voted out! The most corrupt ass backwards administration in u.s history. Thanks to President Obama for blowing the whistle on this racist PISS poor administration.

  5. Passing Through!! on said:

    Cooperate and get off of the trump train that’s headed full steam ahead off the side of the cliff or DIE in prison…Jared trump jr your next.

    • This coming from a mother f-cker who put a billion dollars on a plane to Iran, a country that supports terrorism? care to explain that one you racist pos!

      • Passing Through! on said:

        And a treasonus muther f**ker who bent the United States over to Russia while he & his corrupt criminal ass buddies & family made millions doing buisness with a foreign enemy of this country care to explain that you illiterate red neck POS!

      • Trump didn’t do no business with Russia you stupid subhuman b-east. Lowest iq’s of any race ! I have many asian friends and they all know you are subhuman!

      • Passing Through! on said:

        Knuckle dragger, trump did do business with the Russians that’s why Mueller seized his bank records & trump jr arranged meetings at trump tower & jr along with Jared Kushner will soon be indicted for their role in the Russian scandal.

    • Will you be at your black lies matter meeting tonight screaming threats and whites and police officers? F-cken domestic terrorists claiming to be fighting for rights. You mother f-ckers got more rights than anyone. What race gets 200 points on their sats because of skin color! GTFOH you racist black brillo pad hair having be-sts

      • Passing Through! on said:

        WHite lies matter is every day of the trump administration, watching Sarah The Huck-Big-B go to the podium and lie as the trump ship continues to sink.

    • BTW, I am not redneck. Not even close. I am, however, a racially aware white man who has seen first hand that you mother f-ckers are hands down the most racist f-cks on the planet bar none!

    • Passing Through! on said:

      LOL!!!!! The laughing stock is the orange neanderthal on the verge of IMPEACHMENT with 5 members of his cabinet now indicted and more indictments on the way…LOL! President Obama has destroyed trump’s presidency, trump is the real sissy because he getting straight F**ked right about now. Ask donald dump do he think Obama’s weak whe go to sleep looking over his shoulder eveny night.

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