WH: No Talk of Pardons for Flynn or Manafort in Russia Probe

Andrew Harnik | AP  Paul Manafort President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman leaves Federal District Court in Washington
Andrew Harnik | AP Paul Manafort President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman leaves Federal District Court in Washington
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29 March, 2018

Mueller was appointed to investigate any links between Trump associates and Russian Federation, as well as other matters that arise out of his investigation.

On Wednesday, The New York Times reported that President Donald Trump's former lawyer John Dowd floated the possibility that Trump might issue pardons to Michael Flynn and Paul Manafort with their attorneys past year.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders referred to Cobb's statement when asked about the Times' report at a briefing Wednesday, later adding that pardons are "not currently" under consideration.

John Dowd, then Trump's lead lawyer, was described as floating the idea of a pardon for Manafort during the time he was under investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller, but had not yet been charged, these people said. He pleaded guilty earlier this year to lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation about his interactions with Gates and the former intelligence officer and is to be sentenced on April 3.

President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman is asking a judge in Virginia to dismiss bank fraud and tax evasion charges filed against him.

"The fact that an official who had an important role in the Trump campaign alongside (Paul) Manafort was dealing with an individual who he knew was tied to Russian intelligence is a big deal, as is the fact that Mueller chose to put that card face up on the table at this time", said a person familiar with Mueller's investigation who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

"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.

Saudi crown prince seeks the Kingdom's image makeover in United States marathon tour
In addition, the crown prince will have meetings at Google and Apple, and meet with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. President Barack Obama also angered the Saudis by negotiating a nuclear agreement with their regional rival, Iran.

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.

Lawyers for Flynn and Manafort declined to respond to the Times' request for comment.

The White House and Trump's lawyers have regularly argued that the president is not considering pardons. 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. She added waiving their potential sentences is "not being now discussed at the White House".

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

"The president's power to pardon is absolute and not subject to review even if he does it for political reasons", said Jeffrey Cramer, a former federal prosecutor who spent 12 years at the Department of Justice.

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


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