One of President Donald Trump’s attorneys discussed the possibility of pardons with lawyers for Michael Flynn and Paul Manafort—two people at the center of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe—according to a stunning new report from the New York Times.
Last year, Flynn, the former national security adviser, pleaded guilty to lying about his contacts with Russian officials. Manafort, the former Trump campaign chairman, has pleaded not guilty to conspiracy and money laundering. As the Times explained, “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 paper cited “three people with knowledge of the discussions,” though it noted that Dowd himself denied raising the possibility of pardons. “There were no discussions. Period,” Dowd told the Times. “As far as I know, no discussions.”
According to the Times, “legal experts are divided” over whether such an offer could amount the obstruction of justice.
The report comes as Trump struggles to hire lawyers willing to represent him in the face of mounting legal problems.