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

The news comes as Mueller's ongoing investigation is reportedly turning towards the President's finances; focusing on the Trump Organization's worldwide business dealings and assets.

Alex van der Zwaan, a Dutch lawyer who worked in London for NY law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, pleaded guilty last month to lying to special counsel Robert Mueller's team about his contacts with Gates shortly before the presidential election.

Dowd, who announced his resignation last week, denied the claims to the Times: "There were no discussions".

He, the White House, and the president's current lawyer deny allegations in the report.

According to the Times, the discussion with Flynn's attorney, Robert Kelner, took place last summer, months before Flynn took a plea deal and began cooperating with special counsel Robert Mueller. In December, Flynn, Trump's former national security adviser, pleaded guilty to making false statements to the FBI over the course of the investigation.

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Both Mr. Manafort and Mr. Gates were indicted a year ago for money laundering and other financial crimes committed while, the charges said, they tried to hide the money they received for their Ukraine work.

"Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agents assisting the Special Counsel's Office assess that Person A has ties to a Russian intelligence service and had such ties in 2016", Mueller said in the filing. We will not likely get an answer to that question any time soon, but the contacts between Kilimnik and Gates in September and October of 2016 while Gates was still working on the campaign are undeniably curious, at the very least.

Lawyers for Flynn and Manafort declined to respond to the Times' request for comment.

In July 2016 Manafort, then chairman of Trump's presidential campaign, emailed Kilimnik asking him to offer Deripaska "private briefings" about the campaign, according to the Washington Post.

For those keeping score, van der Zwaan is the son-in-law of a Russian oligarch, German Khan, one of the owners of Alfa Bank, and had extensive dealings with Manafort on his earlier work for the Yanukovych regime in Ukraine.

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Manafort and Flynn were closely linked to Trump during the campaign and in the White House, respectively.

Dowd, Trump defense lawyer Jay Sekulow, and White House counsel Ty Cobb all told The Times that there had been no discussions of possible pardons for Manafort and Flynn at any point during the investigation.

"I don't want to talk about pardons for Michael Flynn yet", he said on December 15.

"Not that I'm aware of", she said. She added waiving their potential sentences is "not being now discussed at the White House". "This is all my personal opinion, and I stand by it".

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  • Ryan Wade