Trump's Lawyer Proposed Pardons for Flynn and Manafort

ANALYSIS: Constitution Compels Sessions Dismiss Mueller From Non-Campaign Cases

ANALYSIS: Constitution Compels Sessions Dismiss Mueller From Non-Campaign Cases

Former Trump campaign aide Rick Gates was in contact just before the 2016 election with a man he knew to be a former Russian spy, according to a document filed by special counsel Robert Mueller's office on Tuesday.

The New York Times reported Wednesday that John Dowd, who recently resigned as Trump's lead attorney in the special counsel's investigation, allegedly raised the idea of the president pardoning Flynn and Manafort with their lawyers a year ago. The Times says Dowd discussed his pardon idea with other members of the president's legal team, though its unknown whether he talked about it with Trump himself.

The Times reported that it was not clear if Dowd had discussed the prospect of pardons with President Trump, but that Trump had asked about the extent of his pardoning power in a meeting past year with lawyers from the White House Counsel's Office.

The discussions also raise questions about whether the possibility of a pardon was dangled to influence Flynn and Manafort's decisions on whether to plead guilty and cooperate with Mueller's investigation, the newspaper said.

Manafort, Trump's former campaign chairman, meanwhile, has pleaded not guilty to conspiracy, fraud and money laundering charges tied to his alleged work for a Russian-friendly Ukraine political party.

"I don't want to talk about pardons for Michael Flynn yet", he said on December 15.

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Dowd spoke about a pardon with Manafort's lawyer, Reginald Brown, before Manafort was indicted last October, according to the Times.

The connection between Gates and the former intelligence officer, identified only as "Person A" in the records filed late on Tuesday, is significant because criminal charges brought against Gates and Manafort relate only to their lobbying work for Ukraine prior to the 2016 USA presidential election and do not delve into their activities during the campaign.

Flynn's family and advocates have indicated publicly that they are hoping Trump will pardon Flynn.

"We'll see what happens", he told reporters before a speech he was giving at the FBI's National Academy. Let's see. I can say this: "When you look at what's gone on with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and with the Justice Department, people are very, very angry".

Dowd, who denied to the New York Times that he discussed pardons with lawyers for the president's former advisers, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The news comes as Mueller's ongoing investigation is reportedly turning towards the President's finances; focusing on the Trump Organization's worldwide business dealings and assets.

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