SPECIAL REPORT: Former Trump aide Rick Gates formally pleads guilty to two counts

Gates is the latest person in the Trump campaign's orbit to face charges.
3:50 | 02/23/18

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Transcript for SPECIAL REPORT: Former Trump aide Rick Gates formally pleads guilty to two counts
This is an ABC news special. George Stephanopoulos. Good afternoon for those you watching general hospital it will be played in its entirety after this break we do have breaking news now it's in the Russian investigation led by special counsel Robert Mueller. And we have learned that the former deputy campaign chairman of the charm campaign Rick gates. He's going to court you see him right there and is now pleading guilty. To two counts of conspiracy and false statements in the Russia prohibit indicted. Charged with several counts of fraud conspiracy against United States money laundering and false statements but he is decided now. To cooperate with the special counsel plead guilty to two counts want to get all the details now from our Chief Justice correspondent Pierre Thomas. That's right George Rick case former deputy campaign manager for president fox election Barrett is today pleading guilty. Two counts first he's pleading guilty for engaging in a conspiracy to defraud the United States government by not reporting foreign bank accounts that could be taxed. And failing to register as a foreign agent for work on behalf of Ukrainian officials who had close ties to the creme. Gates is also pleading guilty to one Gallup count of lying to the special counsel about the nature worked on for those Ukrainian officials. The special counsel office claimed to gates engaged in this conspiracy what Paul meant upward from former campaign chairman. Metaphor has pleaded not guilty but now one of its principal business partners is set to be a cooperative. Cooperating witness for the special counsel some that it could have enormous implications for management and and Pierre under the under the dozens of charges he was facing. A before today's plea agreement he could have faced years and years. In prison what you expect now. Well he faced at least up to twenty years in prison hundreds some of those previous charges but by our calculations he's looking at somewhere maximum. Between four and seven years in prison and torture that that's the maximum that's not necessary the recommendation. The special counsel Robert Mueller exactly we expect a he's going to cooperate George. That could give him much more lenient time as well OK if you're thanks for much cleaner chief legal analyst Dan Abrams right now the big question. This agreement what did he give to Robert Mueller to get it. That's right because they wouldn't have made this deal and less they felt gates had something very important to offer them. And some people are saying out there we have this is so they can help get manna for. Or his former boss but Mueller already had right right and so so Mo or may not add needed gates for man for. So that's what leads to the really interest in question which is. What else might gates be able to offer he was there. Leading up to the election he was there during the transition. He may be able to help Mueller put some of these pieces together with regard to the collusion that is the fundamental. Part of this K. And now we have three top officials three officials in the campaign who have all cooperative note Robert Mueller you've got Mike Flynn. The former NASA screen version that George puppet topless foreign policy advisor Rick Kate brigades deputy campaign chairman. And each one of them are going to be offering information that the special counsel feels is important not in some minor issue. But you make these kinds of deals because the special counsel thinks that they can offer information they can testify against certain people. They can offer times and dates and phone calls that are relevant to this investigation and speaking about I think it's important to note. That one of the two counts that gates is pleading guilty to. Is a false statement made this month just a couple weeks ago for one flat while they were trying to negotiate this deal. Which shows you that they are saying he was lying to us even as we were trying to figure out this the. And now there's a real major development in the rush investigation. Much more tonight on world news of David Muir have a good afternoon. This has been a special. For meetings.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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