WH: No Talk of Pardons for Flynn or Manafort in Russia Probe
29 March 2018, 01:42 | Colleen Roy
John Dowd leaves Manhattan Federal Court
President Donald Trump's former lawyer reportedly discussed the possibility of pardons for two of the president's former associates who have been charged in the special counsel Robert Mueller's probe.
In a statement, attorney Ty Cobb, who represents the White House, said there have been no pardons discussed related to the Russian Federation investigation.
Sanders was asked several times during the White House press briefing about discussions of pardons.
The talks suggest Trump's lawyers were concerned about what Flynn, who has since pleaded guilty, and Manafort, who has been indicted, might tell Mueller in exchange for leniency, the paper reported.
Flynn, who briefly served as Trump's national security adviser, pleaded guilty in December to one count of "willfully and knowingly" making "false, fictitious and fraudulent statements" to the Federal Bureau of Investigation regarding his his conversations with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in December 2016.
Meanwhile, Manafort's status as Trump's campaign chairman during a crucial time in the 2016 election is also likely of interest to investigators.
A document filed late Tuesday by the special counsel said that an unnamed person former Trump campaign aide Rick Gates was talking to before the election was a former Russian intelligence officer, a fact known to Gates at the time.
"We had a terrific relationship with Mueller-the best that I can recall in my 50 years of practice", Dowd told the National Law Review in a report published Wednesday afternoon. The ex-GRU agent, identified as Person A, maintained contacts with Russian intelligence at the time of his interactions with Gates, according to the filing. An attorney for Gates did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
For those keeping score, van der Zwaan is the son-in-law of a Russian oligarch, German Khan, one of the owners of Alfa Bank, and had extensive dealings with Manafort on his earlier work for the Yanukovych regime in Ukraine.
The FBI has found that a business associate of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort had ongoing ties to Russian intelligence, including during the 2016 campaign when Manafort and his deputy, Rick Gates, were in touch with the associate, according to new court filings.
Shortly after the Washington Post reported in July of 2017 that some of his lawyers had discussed using pardons to undercut Mueller's investigation, Trump noted in a tweet that he has the "complete power to pardon".
Two weeks after Flynn's guilty plea, Trump was asked by reporters whether he would pardon the retired Army three-star general. "As far as I know, no discussions".
"I don't want to talk about pardons for Michael Flynn yet", he said on December 15. "Floating the possibility of a pardon to a witness considering cooperation with a grand jury investigation would be bad if Dowd represented another non-presidential witness".
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