Trump's Lawyer Said the President Was 'Prepared to Pardon' Michael Flynn: Report
President Donald Trump's former lawyer John Dowd — who left his job just last week — raised the possibility of pardons for Trump's former aides Paul Manafort and Michael Flynn, according to a report from the New York Times.
Discussing the matter of Flynn, the former National Security Adviser who pleaded guilty to misleading the FBI near the end of last year, Dowd reportedly expressed surprise at the plea and said, the president was "prepared to pardon him." Trump also raised the possibility of pardoning Flynn and potentially other aides wrapped up in the investigation, according to the report.
The reporters note that while the prospect of pardons could be seen as part of a larger effort to obstruct justice, the legal community is divided about whether this theory would hold up in court.
Perhaps more importantly, it suggests that the president and his lawyer feared that Flynn and Manafort may have something troubling on the president. Though Manafort is fighting the charges that special counsel Robert Mueller has brought against him, Flynn became a cooperating witness — which could prove to be a major threat to the president and his associates.
Dowd and the president's legal team have repeatedly said that they have not considered pardons in relation to the special counsel's probe.
Last July, Trump seemed confident that his power to pardon would be above reproach. He tweeted: "While all agree the U. S. President has the complete power to pardon, why think of that when only crime so far is LEAKS against us."
Since then, there have been many serious indictments and multiple confirmed crimes in the special counsel's investigation. It seems overwhelmingly likely that Trump is thinking about pardons now.