Robert Mueller requests delay as Trump insider “continues to cooperate”

Special counsel Robert Mueller has requested more time for his investigation from a federal judge, citing that former Trump campaign official Rick Gates “continues to cooperate with respect to several ongoing investigations,” Mueller said in his filing, according to CNBC.

“Accordingly the parties do not believe it is appropriate” to move on to Gates’ sentencing phase, the filing in Washington, D.C., a federal court said.

In a joint report from Mueller and Gates’ attorney have requested 60 more days from the judge before providing the next update on Gates’ status. Incidentally, Gates’ is a longtime business partner of recently indicted Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

Gates struck a deal with prosecutors in February where he plead guilty to two criminal counts and cooperated with Mueller’s investigation, since which time he has worked extensively with the special counsel’s office, according to CNBC.

Mueller’s office characterized the relationship in January saying that Gates “continues to cooperate with respect to several ongoing investigations, and accordingly the parties do not believe it is appropriate to commence the sentencing process at this time.”

“The status of this matter has not changed substantially since the January report,” Mueller and Gates’ lawyer, Thomas Green, said in the court document Friday morning.

This extension request came shortly after Mueller received a helping hand from Judge Judith Rogers of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit when he rejected a challenge brought by Roger Stone’s associate, Andrew Miller according to The Hill.

“Because the Special Counsel is an inferior officer, and the Deputy Attorney General became the head of the Department by virtue of becoming the Acting Attorney General as a result of a vacancy created by the disability of the Attorney General through recusal on the matter, we hold that Miller’s challenge to the appointment of the Special Counsel fails,” Judge Rogers wrote in the unanimous opinion.

As well as their ruling on the issue of Stone, the court also upheld a district court order that held Miller in contempt for refusing to testify before the grand jury at Mueller’s request.

“In appealing the district court ruling, Miller argued Mueller’s appointment was unlawful under the Appointments Clause of the Constitution,” The Hill reported.

“He claimed the special counsel is a principal officer who was not appointed by the president with the advice and consent of the Senate; Congress did not ‘by law’ authorize the special counsel’s appointment, and the special counsel was not appointed by a ‘head of Department.’”