The New York Times reports:
A lawyer for President Trump broached the idea of Mr. Trump pardoning two of his former top advisers, Michael T. Flynn and Paul Manafort, with their lawyers last year, according to three people with knowledge of the discussions.
The discussions came as the special counsel was building cases against both men, and they raise questions about whether the lawyer, John Dowd, was offering pardons to influence their decisions about whether to plead guilty and cooperate in the investigation.
The talks suggest that Mr. Trump’s lawyers were concerned about what Mr. Flynn and Mr. Manafort might reveal were they to cut a deal with the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, in exchange for leniency. Mr. Mueller’s team could investigate the prospect that Mr. Dowd made pardon offers to thwart the inquiry, although legal experts are divided about whether such offers might constitute obstruction of justice.
Not mentioned in this story: Don McGahn, the White Counsel whose office would process any pardons. Makes me wonder if he or associates were a source—and if the article was designed to create a storm that might deter Trump from pardons he’s considering. https://t.co/rUXOfQHb8u
— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) March 28, 2018
EXCLUSIVE: Trump's lawyer, John Dowd, discussed pardons for Paul Manafort and Mike Flynn with their lawyers last summer as Mueller was building cases against them. w/@MarkMazzettiNYT @Jo_Becker @maggieNYT @adamgoldmanNYT https://t.co/TokFLIAmfm
— Michael S. Schmidt (@nytmike) March 28, 2018
This is just straight up corruption. Every lever Trump has to try and impede the investigation, he has used, from direct intervention with the FBI, to asking others to intervene, to dangling pardons in front of targets. https://t.co/bppflLoekz
— Matthew Miller (@matthewamiller) March 28, 2018
John Dowd was Trump's personal, criinal lawyer. The WH Counsel is the lawyer who heads up the pardon process. For Dowd to have talked pardons for Manafort & Flynn strongly suggests those pardons were being contemplated as a last ditch way to obstruct the Mueller investigation. https://t.co/y3NkdDHDTc
— Joyce Alene (@JoyceWhiteVance) March 28, 2018
Trump’s lawyer discussed pardons for 2 ex-top aides last year, suggesting concern about what they might tell the special counsel https://t.co/XShJXfC6Ib
— The New York Times (@nytimes) March 28, 2018