Analysis: Mueller is about to take a big step closer to Trump
MSN News ^ | 02/23/2018 | Philip Bump
Posted on 2/23/2018, 2:46:43 PM by detective
To date, four people have pleaded guilty to charges brought against them by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III and his team. Two were ancillary characters: a businessman who apparently sold bank account numbers to Russian trolls and a lawyer who’d worked with former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his longtime partner Rick Gates.
Two were closer to the campaign. One is campaign adviser George Papadopoulos, whose connections to Russia-linked characters helped spur the initial investigation in July 2016 into whether President Trump’s campaign had aided Russian interference efforts. And then there’s Michael Flynn, a campaign aide who wound up as Trump’s national security adviser. Both
Papadopoulos and Flynn have apparently agreed to work with Mueller’s team in its investigation, but it’s not clear how much either knew about what the campaign was doing. Flynn’s role was the same on paper as Papadopoulos’s, but he was clearly closer to Trump.
Neither, though, is known to have had intimate familiarity with what the Trump campaign effort looked like. Which makes Friday’s news of an intent by Gates — both a campaign staffer and, before that, a Manafort partner — to cooperate with Mueller potentially very significant.
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