Plead guilty to lying and conspiracy and get all the charges against you dropped.

This strategy is what Rick Gates, a former Trump campaign official, used to get 20 charges against him dropped by special counsel Robert Mueller.

According to a plea agreement Monday, “The Office will move promptly to dismiss the remaining counts of the Indictment in this matter. In addition, the Office will move promptly to dismiss without prejudice the charges brought against client in the Eastern District of Virginia.”

The plea deal provides the special counsel with the leverage needed to further probe the Russian investigation in the 2016 presidential election. Gates, 45, still could go to prison for six years, or even longer if he fails to fulfil the terms of the agreement.

Last week, Gates and Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign manager, received a second criminal indictment, added to the previous one that charged them with 12 counts of money laundering, lying to federal investigators and failing to register as foreign agents.

Gates, a close associate of Manafort, was deeply involved in Trump’s campaign, remaining there even after Manafort resigned in 2016. He was also a key figure between the campaign and the Republican National Committee, and he played a role in the presidential transition after the election.

Depending on the nature of the agreement and the extent to which Gates will be forthcoming, it jeopardizes Manafort and leaves the White House on edge.

Manafort said, “I had hoped and expected my business colleague would have had the strength to continue the battle to prove our innocence. For reasons yet to surface be chose to do otherwise.”

If Gates has collapsed, can Manafort, 68, be far behind?

This latest round of indictments after those of 13 Russians and other yet to be revealed information is further evident of how methodically Mueller is building his case.

And not a tweet from Trump.