Gates Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy and Lying

Rick Gates, a former top official in President Trump’s campaign, pleaded guilty Friday afternoon to conspiracy and lying to the FBI, striking a deal to cooperate and provide information to special counsel Robert Mueller’s ongoing investigation, the Washington Post reports.

“The plea caps a tumultuous 24 hours for Gates in which he was hit with fresh charges, changed lawyers and admitted crimes.”

How Do We Cope with Trump?

Andrew Sullivan: “There are times when I genuinely wonder whether I can hold up psychologically in our current politics and culture. My shrink tells me I am far from alone in this, and that everyone she listens to is consumed with a depression that swings from despair to rage to what can only be called learned helplessness. There are moments when everything I have come to believe in — reasoned deliberation, mutual toleration, liberal democracy, free speech, honesty, decency, and moderation — seem as if they are in eclipse. Emotionalism, tribalism, intolerance, lies, cruelty, and extremism surround us (and I have not been immune in this climate to their temptations either). Trump has turned the right into a foul, spit-flecked froth of racist reactionism, and he has evoked a radical response on the left that, while completely understandable, alienates me and many others more profoundly with every passing day. Hell, there have been many moments in the past couple of years when I have alienated the better part of myself. There is something about the current toxicity that has seeped into everyone.”

“And so I walk the dogs. And I meditate. And I smoke more weed in the evenings. And I browse the apps. And I find myself searching for figures outside this time and place who were in similar circumstances and yet kept their heads.”

Federal Agency Says U.S. No Longer Nation of Immigrants

“The federal agency that issues green cards and grants citizenship to people from foreign countries has stopped characterizing the United States as ‘a nation of immigrants,'” the New York Times reports.

“The director of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services informed employees in a letter on Thursday that its mission statement had been revised to ‘guide us in the years ahead.’ Gone was the phrase that described the agency as securing ‘America’s promise as a nation of immigrants.'”

Trump Slams McCain Again

President Trump mocked Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) — without using his name — for his no vote on repealing the Affordable Care Act, Axios reports.

Said Trump: “Remember, one person walked into a room when he was supposed to go this way (Trump enthusiastically gives a thumbs up) and he said he was going this way, and he walked in and he went this way (Trump throws his thumb down) and everyone said what happened? What was that all about? … I don’t want to be controversial so I won’t use his name. What a mess!”

Just two weeks ago, Meghan McCain told Politico that Trump had called her to say he would “back off” her cancer-stricken father.

Gates Confirms to Friends He’ll Plead Guilty

In the letter obtained by ABC News, former Trump adviser Rick Gates writes to family and friends “despite my initial desire to vigorously defend myself, I have had a change of heart. The reality of how long this legal process will likely take, the cost, and the circus-like atmosphere of an anticipated trial are too much. I will better serve my family moving forward by exiting this process.”

He added: “The consequence is the public humiliation, which at this moment seems like a small price to pay for what our children would have to endure otherwise.”

Gates Will Plead Guilty and Cooperate

Former Trump deputy campaign chairman Rick Gates is expected to plead guilty as soon as Friday afternoon, “a move that signals he is cooperating with the investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election,” the New York Times reports.

“The plea deal could be a significant development in the investigation — a sign that Mr. Gates plans to offer incriminating information against his longtime associate and the former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, or other members of the Trump campaign in exchange for a lighter punishment.”

The Gun Debate Could Break America

David French: “Unlike the stupid hysterics over net neutrality, tax policy, or regulatory reform, the gun debate really is — at its heart — about life and death. It’s about different ways of life, different ways of perceiving your role in a nation and a community. Given these immense stakes, extra degrees of charity and empathy are necessary in public discussion and debate. At the moment, what we have instead are extra degrees of anger and contempt. The stakes are high. Emotions are high. Ignorance abounds. Why bother to learn anything new when you know the other side is evil?”

“It takes more than a constitution or a government to hold a nation together. The ties that bind us as Americans are strong and durable, but the great challenges that formed them are receding into the past. Geographic differences create cultural differences, and cultural differences hasten ever-greater geographic change. Like clusters with like, and it results in the fury we saw last night, when one of the bluest communities in America vented its rage at the red emissaries in their midst.”

“A nation cannot endure forever when its people are consumed with such hate.”

Quote of the Day

“Talking to the president, I’ve never been so unimpressed by a person in my life. He didn’t make me feel better in the slightest.”

— Samantha Fuentes, who was shot in both legs during the Parkland assault, recounting her phone call with President Trump to the New York Times,

NRA Reels Trump Back In

James Hohmann: “President Trump’s promises to take meaningful action on guns after Florida look increasingly hollow. His moves to get right with the National Rifle Association on Thursday reflect how much the contours of the debate have shifted and the degree to which the Republican Party has radicalized in recent years.”

“So it should not be surprising that the president’s comments at the White House yesterday afternoon closely mimicked a speech that LaPierre delivered earlier in the day at the Conservative Political Action Conference.”

The Hill quotes Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY): “Not surprised the NRA reeled President Trump back in. Just amazed at how fast it happened.”

Earlier for members: Why Trump Won’t Buck the NRA