Today, dubbed on social media as #MuellerMonday, both Paul Manafort and Rick Gates surrendered to the Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller. While many know of Manafort, Trump’s campaign chairman of 5 months before resigning, his “partner in crime” Rick Gates is less well-known, even though he may have had a more significant impact on the Trump campaign than Manafort.
Rick Gates joined the Trump campaign alongside Paul Manafort in March of 2016, taking the reigns of the operations preparing for the 2016 Republican National Convention. Before the convention in Cleveland, he was promoted to deputy campaign manager. When Manafort exited the campaign following questions about his involvement with Ukraine, Gates stayed put. Over the course of the election, Gates became close with the eventual head of the Presidential Inaugural Committee, Tom Barrack. This friendship helped him get the no. 2 position on the Inaugural Committee. After the inauguration, Gates joined America First Policies, an organization aimed at pushing Trump’s agenda through policy initiatives.
Gates’s time on Trump’s team was abruptly cut short when he was removed from America First Policies this past March after being roped into the special counsel’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
According to the indictment released this morning, both Gates and Manafort acted as “unregistered agents” of a Ukraine political party backed by Pro-Russia motives, Gates allegedly not disclosing his work history as a foreign agent during his time at the Trump campaign. The indictment also brings up Gates aiding Manafort in obtaining money used to pay for personal expenses from offshore accounts. Both men surrendered to the Justice Department without a fight this morning. If convicted on all 12 counts, Gates and Manafort could face decades in prison and millions of dollars in fines. Gates alone faces 70 years in prison, the number not taking the possibility of additional charges and the ‘wiggle room’ given to judges imposing sentences into account.