Trump's Lawyer Proposed Pardons for Flynn and Manafort
29 March, 2018, 01:31 | Author: Gregory Stephens
The New York Times reported Wednesday that John Dowd, who resigned last week, raised the subject with their respective lawyers a year ago because Trump's team was concerned about what they might reveal to FBI Special Counsel Robert Mueller as part of a deal.
According to the Times, Dowd talked about the idea as special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russian Federation probe MORE was building cases against Flynn and Manafort.
In recommending that van der Zwaan serve jail time, prosecutors note that his lies about Person A were "material to the Special Counsel's Office's investigation" because "special agents assisting the Special Counsel's Office assess that Person A has ties to Russian intelligence services and had such ties in 2016".
The news comes as Mueller's ongoing investigation is reportedly turning towards the President's finances; focusing on the Trump Organization's global business dealings and assets.
Dowd spoke about a pardon with Manafort's lawyer, Reginald Brown, before Manafort was indicted last October, according to the Times.
Why would he do that, when the connection to Person A had been known for months?He's identified as Person A in the new filing, but as Aaron Blake notes, it's widely assumed to be a Ukrainian aide to Gates and Manafort named Konstantin Kilimnik.
Manafort has acknowledged staying in frequent contact with Kilimnik during the time he worked for Trump's campaign, including meeting with him in person in May 2016 and again in August 2016, about two weeks before Manafort resigned as Trump's campaign chairman.
Kilimnik's suspected ties to Russian intelligence have been established, but it was not previously known whether those links continued into 2016.
Months later, Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and agreed to cooperate with investigators in exchange for a lenient sentence. Kelner and a spokesman for Manafort also were not immediately available. Which is a bit odd, since the president has assured us that the entire investigation into his campaign's ties to Russian Federation is a "WITCH HUNT".
Mr. Kilimnik has maintained residences in Moscow and Kiev, the capital of Ukraine, and has traveled regularly between them during years of working for Mr. Manafort and Mr. Gates on behalf of various Russia-aligned oligarchs and political parties.
In a separate filing, Alex van der Zwaan insists that his lying to investigators was not motivated by a desire to impede Mueller's investigation, but by a fear of his superiors at Skadden Arps discovering he had violated the firm's policies by recording his calls with Person A, Gates, and Skadden partners.
The revelation that Gates knew Kilimnik had been a Russian intelligence officer could prove to be the most significant turn in Mueller's investigation to date, said a person familiar with the probe into whether there was collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government. We also know that Manafort had been in contact with Kilimnik during the 2016 campaign and met him at least twice.
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