Trump attorney discussed Flynn, Manafort pardons

Sanders, when pressed to state unequivocally that pardons have not been discussed in relation to the Russian Federation investigation, again pointed to Cobb's remarks, adding that he's "the person that would be most directly involved in this".

According to The Times, Dowd spoke to lawyers representing former national security adviser Michael Flynn and former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort past year, as Mueller's investigation was closing in on both men.

One of U.S. President Donald Trump's attorneys floated the possibility of pardoning two of the president's former advisers caught up in the Russian Federation probe in discussions with their lawyers a year ago.

At the White House press briefing, Press Secretary Sarah Sanders responded to questions about the article by referring back to Cobb's statement.

In emails exchanged between Department of Justice employees working for the Office of the Pardon Attorney, they concluded that if Trump decided one day to tweet out a presidential pardon, the Department of Justice would probably "have very little if any involvement", wrote Jennifer K. Mills, a former supervisory paralegal.

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.

Gates, a previous biz companion of ex-Trump project chair Paul Manafort, is accepting Mueller after begging guilty to non listed lobbying as well as loan laundering.

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Flynn pleaded guilty in December, and Manafort has pleaded not guilty to dozens of charges against him as part of the special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation.

"We'll see what happens", he told reporters before a speech he was giving at the FBI's National Academy.

A grand jury had already been convened to look into evidence against Flynn by the time Dowd spoke with Kelner, the Times reports, while the conversation with Brown took place prior to an indictment handed down in October charging Manafort for various financial crimes.

In comments to the Times, Dowd denied that he talked about pardons with the lawyers, saying, "There were no discussions". She added waiving their potential sentences is "not being now discussed at the White House". During his first interview with the Special Counsel's Office, van der Zwaan admitted that he knew of that connection, stating that Gates told him Person A was a former Russian Intelligence Officer with GRU.

"A president pardoning defendants if they don't plead guilty (and cooperate is the unspoken word here) would be a new use of the pardon power", he said.

"Not that I'm aware of", she said.

"Last time I checked, the pardon power is official, not personal", Wright said.

  • Megan Austin