Did Trump's Lawyer Plan to Pardon Away the Mueller Probe?

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaking to supporters during a rally near the Kremlin in Moscow March 18

The New York Times reported Wednesday that John Dowd, who resigned last week, raised the subject with their respective lawyers past year because Trump's team was concerned about what they might reveal to FBI Special Counsel Robert Mueller as part of a deal.

Mueller's office did not make a judgment on what van der Zwaan's sentence should be, but pointed out his experience as a longtime lawyer and the fact that he lied to them after Gates and former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort were indicted in the Russian Federation probe.

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.

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 US presidential election and do not delve into their activities during the campaign.

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Mr. Manafort has vowed to fight the charges. Last year, it was reported that the FBI was investigating potential server connections between the Trump Organization and Alfa Bank.

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

"Never during the course of my representation of the president have I had any discussions of pardons of any individual involved in this inquiry", Jay Sekulow, another Trump lawyer, told the Times on Wednesday.

Dowd, who recently resigned from Trump's legal team, denied having the conversations.

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Brown, who no longer represents Manafort, was not immediately available to comment to Newsweek. He added that Kilimnik forwarded it to Manafort, who "advised me to add that the Yanukovych government also worked actively with the U.S. on nuclear disarmament and with North Atlantic Treaty Organisation". Not quite. He added a qualifier: "As far as I know, no discussions".

The discussions between Dowd and lawyers for Manafort and Flynn indicated Trump's legal team was concerned about what the two former aides would reveal if they cut a deal with Mueller in exchange for leniency, according to the newspaper.

While these allegations are still unconfirmed, the president has openly discussed potential pardons for former aides under investigation in the Russian Federation probe, according to two people with knowledge of the interviews who spoke with the Times.

He, the White House, and the president's current lawyer deny allegations in the report. No United States president has ever done so but governors have.

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Two weeks after Flynn's guilty plea, Trump was asked by reporters whether he would pardon the retired Army three-star general.

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