"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. Flynn, Trump's former national security adviser, pleaded guilty in the special counsel probe to lying to federal agents.
Dowd joined Trump's legal team last summer, and Flynn pleaded guilty in December.
Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort departs from U.S. District Court in Washington, U.S., February 28, 2018.
Dowd reportedly told them the president might issue pardons for both of them.
Both Mr. Manafort and Mr. Gates were indicted past year for money laundering and other financial crimes committed while, the charges said, they tried to hide the money they received for their Ukraine work.
Robert Kelner, Flynn's lawyer, as well as Reginald Brown, Manafort's lawyer at the time of the reported overture, and Kevin Downing, his current lawyer, did not respond to requests for comment about the New York Times report.
A spokesman for Manafort, who is under a court gag order, declined to comment. "Period.... As far as I know, no discussions".
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders also denied that any pardon proposals were made during her daily briefing with reporters on Wednesday.
In emails exchanged between Department of Justice employees working for the Office of the Pardon Attorney, they concluded that if Trump decided one day to tweet out a presidential pardon, the Department of Justice would probably "have very little if any involvement", wrote Jennifer K. Mills, a former supervisory paralegal. "We never talked about pardons".
Flynn, who briefly served as Trump's national security adviser, pleaded guilty in December to one count of "willfully and knowingly" making "false, fictitious and fraudulent statements" to the Federal Bureau of Investigation regarding his his conversations with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in December 2016.
Flynn's family and advocates have indicated publicly that they are hoping Trump will pardon Flynn.
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Hours later, Flynn's brother posted a new tweet saying, "Mr. President, I personally believe that a pardon is due to General Flynn, given the apparent and obvious illegitimacy of the manner in which the so called "crimes" he plead (sic) guilty to were extracted from him".
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