Rick Gates: I committed bank and tax fraud at Paul Manafort's direction, embezzled 'several hundred thousand' dollars
Because the vast bulk of information in the hands of the Mueller investigation is not public. Most of the indictments have been sealed. The public records on them redacted or limited. The plea bargains have been very limited. Both in the charges they involve and in their statements about other areas of the investigation.
And it wasnt certain Gates would testify. There was some speculation they might hold him back for some thing else. Not risk attacks on his credibility if they need his testimony for something bigger. Prosecution was entertaining evidence that covers the same ground his testimony might under the claim that Gates “may or may not testify” up until last week.
So this is the first fully public proceeding to come out of the Mueller probe. And Gates is the biggest fish among Trump’s cronies to speak under oath. In public. For the prosecution.
Much more information about what these idiots were up to, and where Mueller’s investigation is at could potentially roll out of this. And the implications that come out of Manafort getting convicted of flipping are huge. Everything about the trial is news. And not washy horse race, what’s the latest scandal news. Real news. Hard news. Actual important events happening that demand analysis and explanation.
Except that Manafort has the NY AG going after him which means Trump can’t pardon him for those crimes so he’ll see jail time regardless of what Cheetolini thinks which means Manafort might sing soon enough when it becomes clear he won’t see his grand children outside of prison ever again.
Oddly enough the Russians have been getting into RMT and other microtransaction games (see Daybreak Studios formerly SOE). So they’re trying to get their ill gotten cash out of Russia through as many channels as possible. It’s wild to imagine that on top of Manafort’s case there’s going to be more afterwards that will ensnare so many other businesses that no one thought to look into (except maybe cynical nerds like me). It’s like a cyberpunk novel but only more derpy.
Trump’s camp. Perhaps including Manafort. Don’t seem to understand that. There are pretty consistent leaks and rumors about what they think they can do with pardons. Who expects a pardon.
None of it seems to account for tough little details like state prosecutions or what it means for who can be forced to testify and how.
I’m expecting Manafort is gonna have a rude awakening. I don’t think his unwillingness to cooperate is about loyalty, that he’s willing to spend decades in jail to protect any of these people. But that he thinks he can skate some how. Beat the charges by spending excessively on defense. That Trump will step in if he doesn’t.
So if he’s convicted and a pardon doesn’t materialize. And especially if it does but doesn’t have the results they assume. He’s gonna panic, and flip.
Does New York have an income tax?
This is the first time that a senior Trump campaign official has admitted to committing crimes on the stand. It almost certainly won’t be the last.
Even if it was what we expected given the plea deal it’s still a pretty big turning point.
Not just the state but also the city. He’s so screwed.
The position taken by Trump supporters this morning is, “This has nothing to do with Trump. It’s all about something Trump had no knowledge of, or power over. And Manafort was just a coffee boy, anyway.”
Which, technically is true, except for the coffee-boy part.
Yeah, then there was that recent reveal that stolen credit cards were being laundered through mass automated registering of mobile game accounts (by selling the game currency).
Every so often I see cyberpunk authors mention, in relation to current news events, “I once had a plot like this, but decided it was too dumb.”
Charlie Stross famously never wrote a sequel to his five-minutes-in-the-future SFish novels, Halting State and Rule 34, because the reality was catching up with whatever he could think of faster than he could write it.
Yeah, he was/is concerned with the “Scottish Political Singularity” that Scottish independence represented. In the last couple of years, between Trump and Brexit, English-speaking sci-fi authors seem fairly unanimous in feeling like they can’t write serious novels about the near-future, not just because everything is changing so fast, but because the previously unthinkable becomes reality very quickly as well. Also, this reality is so much more ridiculous than what they would have written.
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