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Trump Lawyer Reportedly Discussed Pardoning Flynn And Manafort

Trump Lawyer Reportedly Discussed Pardoning Flynn And Manafort

The White House pushed back Wednesday against reports that President Donald Trump's former lawyer had considered pardoning Michael Flynn and Paul Manafort, stressing that such clemency is not now under consideration for anyone tied to the investigation into alleged Russian election meddling.

John Dowd, the former lead attorney representing President Donald Trump in the Russian Federation investigation, proposed pardons for former national security adviser Michael Flynn and former Trump campaign head Paul Manafort a year ago during conversations with their lawyers, The New York Times reported Wednesday, citing three unnamed sources with knowledge of the situation.

Mueller indicted Manafort on multiple charges of financial fraud in October. Flynn has pleaded guilty and is cooperating, while Manafort is awaiting trial.

Dowd insisted Wednesday that he did not raise the idea of pardons with lawyers representing the two men.

Van der Zwaan, who has pleaded guilty to lying to investigators, told the special counsel that Gates told him the person in question was a former Russian Intelligence Officer with the GRU. "Period", he said, according to the Times.

"I don't want to talk about pardons for Michael Flynn yet", he said on December 15. There was no reason to talk about pardons.

Gates also admitted that he helped Manafort mislead Manafort's tax preparer and did not disclose the accounts overseas, which had more than $10,000.

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Robert Kelner, Flynn's lawyer, as well as Reginald Brown, Manafort's lawyer at the time of the reported overture, and Kevin Downing, his current lawyer, did not respond to requests for comment about the New York Times report.

Mueller's team is also looking at whether anyone on Trump's campaign coordinated with the Kremlin and if the President tried to obstruct justice by stymieing the investigation.

Raising such a possibility could be viewed as an incentive for witnesses not to cooperate with investigators.

Mueller is charged with carrying out a criminal investigation into Russia's role in the 2016 presidential election and whether members of the Trump campaign conspired with Moscow to influence the race.

The newspaper also said Trump had asked aides about the extent of his pardoning power. "Could he be someone who is now of interest to the special counsel?"

But, he added, "given the openness of both the legal and factual questions, it would be irresponsible of Mueller not to add this his inquiry".

But the President discussed the subject of presidential pardons in a meeting with lawyers with the White House Counsel's office, the Times reports, citing a person who was briefed on what was discussed during the meeting.

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