Trump's former campaign official, Rick Gates, "continues to cooperate on several ongoing investigations," special adviser Robert Mueller said in a court trial on Friday
Since then, Gates seems to have worked extensively with Mueller's team. His most visible role as a cooperative witness came in August, when he testified against Manafort in his tax and bank fraud trial in the federal court of Virginia.
Manafort was sentenced in eight of the 18 counts lodged against him in that case. He issued his plea agreement on the eve of a second Mueller trial in Washington, D.C., federal court.
Mueller is investigating the Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and the possible collusion between the Kremlin and the Trump campaign. Trump has denied collusion or any other illegal action.
Some Capitol Hill legislators have predicted that the Mueller spacecraft is in its final phase and that a summary report of its conclusions could be presented to the Justice Department within a few days or weeks.
The recent moves of the special consultant seem to give credit to some of those forecasts. Mueller's top officials, including chief investigator David Archey and chief prosecutor Andrew Weissman, have recently completed their work for the probe.
New developments in other cases related to Mueller have fueled further speculation. Trump's first national security adviser, Michael Flynn, who pleaded guilty to lying about his conversations with the then Russian ambassador to the United States Sergey Kislyak, practically collaborated with the probe, prosecutors said in a trial on Tuesday.
Continued participation in "several" surveys suggests that, despite growing impatience on both sides of the corridor, Mueller may not be so close to ending his highly scrutinized and very hidden relationship.
In January, Mueller said in a court that Gates "continues to cooperate on several ongoing investigations, and consequently the parties do not consider it appropriate to begin the conviction process at this time."