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Rick Gates’s Guilty Plea Means a DC Bar Will Serve $5 “Moscow Muellers” Today

Photograph courtesy of The Bird.

Rick Gates, a former deputy manager of Donald Trump‘s presidential campaign, will plead guilty Friday to charges of conspiracy and making false statements in special counsel Robert Mueller‘s investigation of Russian activity in the 2016 election. As a result of Gates’s plea deal, The Bird, a bar and restaurant in Shaw, will once again roll out its $5 “Moscow Mueller” special all night.

According to newly unsealed court documents, Gates will plead guilty in federal court in DC to one count of conspiracy against the United States for “knowing and intentionally” hiding tens of millions of dollars made while doing political consulting work in Ukraine, and lying to Mueller’s office and the FBI during the course of the investigation. Gates, along with former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, was first charged last October in the first of many indictments that Mueller—a former FBI director who was appointed to lead the Russia investigation after President Trump sacked his successor at the bureau, James Comey—has brought in his probe. News of Gates’s plea was first reported by the New York Times.

Since his original indictment, Gates’s case has taken a few unexpected twists. A fundraiser last December organized by Republican lobbyist Jack Burkman to help Gates pay his legal bills raised the ire of Judge Amy Berman Jackson, who brought Gates into court to determine if the event violated her gag order on his case. Gates later shuffled most of his legal team. On Thursday, Mueller filed another 32 counts in federal court in Virginia alleging that Gates falsified his tax returns for several years; the plea being entered Friday does not appear to affect the new tax charges.

But for The Bird, and people who like to toast the downfalls of the President’s associates, Gates’s plea brings another occasion to trot out the popular “Moscow Mueller” special, which is added to the menu whenever Mueller files charges or gets a guilty plea in his investigation. (Though it’s worth noting that the longtime G-man’s name is pronounced “MULL-er” as in cruller, not “MULE-er” as in Bueller.) It was first offered last year, when Manafort and Gates were charged initially. It returned last December, when Michael Flynn, the former national security adviser, pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his relationship with Sergei Kislyak, the former Russian ambassador to the United States.

The new criminal information against Gates states that he lied to investigators on February 1, telling authorities that there were no discussions of Ukrainian affairs during a March 2013 meeting between Manafort, another unnamed lobbyist, and an unnamed member of Congress. In fact, Mueller’s office discovered that Manafort and the other lobbyist relayed back to Gates that Ukraine was discussed at the meeting, and that Gates and Manafort wrote a report about the meeting for Ukrainian leaders.

 

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Staff Writer

Benjamin Freed joined Washingtonian in August 2013 and covers politics, business, and media. He was previously the editor of DCist and has also written for Washington City Paper, the New York Times, the New Republic, Slate, and BuzzFeed. He lives in Adams Morgan.