CNN’s Jeffrey Tobin on Friday mocked Rick Gates for his “ridiculous, self-pitying” statement after the former Donald Trump aide pleaded guilty in special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.
“The reason Rick Gates pleaded guilty is because he's a criminal,” Toobin said. “And because he's guilty. That's the only reason a judge will accept a guilty plea in our system. And I think we need to keep in mind that this is not just about ‘Oh, the prosecutors being so mean and using their resources.’ This was a criminal enterprise Gates was involved in. He clearly says that Manafort was involved in it, too. And the question we all want to know is, who else?”
Toobin also explained how entertained Gates and former Trump chairman Paul Manafort are in Mueller’s indictment.
“In virtually every paragraph of the charges to which he pleaded guilty, Paul Manafort's name appears. Manafort and Gates, Manafort and Gates,” Toobin said. “This was a collaborative criminal enterprise, and Gates is going to disclose it to the jury. I don't see any way that Paul Manafort can actually take this case to trial at this point.”
“If you look at the charges, [Manafort and Gates] either paid taxes or on they didn’t,” Toobin added. “And Gates is saying, ‘We didn’t pay taxes. They're supposed to disclose their lobbying activities. Gates is saying, ‘We didn’t disclose it.’ I don't see how you defend that. I think the pressure on Manafort is going to be so enormous to plead guilty that I would be shocked at this point if he actually wound up going to trial.”
“What’s important to remember about these charges is that the conspiracy charge continued throughout the time that Manafort and Gates were working on the Trump campaign,” the CNN political analyst noted. “Every minute they were working on the Trump campaign, they were also engaged in a criminal conspiracy.”