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White House Press Secretary Says "No Discussion Or Consideration" Of Pardons For Former Advisers

A New York Times story Wednesday reported that President Trump's former lawyer, John Dowd, "broached" the topic of pardoning Michael Flynn and Paul Manafort last year as Mueller's investigation closed in.

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White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Wednesday deflected questions about whether President Trump's lawyers have "broached" the topic of pardoning Michael Flynn and Paul Manafort with their respective lawyers as the special counsel was tightening its case against the president's former advisers.

The questions arose from a New York Times report, citing three anonymous sources, and raised questions about "whether the lawyer, John Dowd, was offering pardons to influence their decisions about whether to plead guilty and cooperate in the investigation."

Flynn, Trump's former national security adviser accused of lying to the FBI, pleaded guilty last December. Manafort, Trump's former campaign chair, has pleaded not guilty to multiple charges, including money laundering.

"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," the Times story read.

Sanders was asked several times during the White House press briefing about discussions of pardons. She repeatedly cited a statement from Trump's current lawyer, Ty Cobb.

"I can say that Ty Cobb is the person that would be most directly involved in this," Sanders said. "And he's got a statement on the record saying that there's no discussion and there's no consideration of those at this time in the White House."

Dowd resigned as Trump's lawyer March 22.


Talal Ansari is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York. His secure PGP fingerprint is 4FEE 894C 8088 7E08 E170 A515 2801 7CC6 95D3 11C2

Contact Talal Ansari at talal.ansari@buzzfeed.com.

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