It’s not a huge surprise that Rick Gates pleaded guilty to financial conspiracy and making false statements. Reports that President Trump’s former aide was negotiating with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team have been circulating practically since Gates and Paul Manafort were indicted in October. But it does put Manafort off the back burner and straight into the borscht. “When it comes to Manafort, Gates knows where the bodies are buried,” writes Garrett M. Graff. “Manafort will now face in court not just the bank records that originally led to his indictment, but also testimony from his former close associate and accomplice in the money-laundering scheme that allegedly involved upward of $60 million.”
But really, the latest step in Mueller’s probe into Russian involvement in the 2016 election leaves more doors open than it closes. What can Paul Manafort offer Bob Mueller? How did George Papadopoulos know in May 2016 that the Russians had dirt on Hillary Clinton? Who directed Michael Flynn’sconversations with Sergey Kislyak—and why did he lie about them? Is it a coincidence that a Russian troll farm organized a “Down with Hillary” rally in New York for the same day that Wikileaks dumped the DNC emails? Graff’s dive into the Mueller investigation offers keen insight into these known unknowns.