A campaign aide toDonald Trump directly communicated a month before the 2016 presidential election with a man he knew was a onetime Russian spy, according to a court filing by Special CounselRobert Mueller.
But it's very unlikely that the DOJ Pardon Attorney's office would play a role in any decision to issue a pardon besides creating a formal record after the fact, unless Trump wanted the advice.
Flynn's family and advocates have indicated publicly that they are hoping Trump will pardon Flynn.
"Never during the course of my representation of the president have I had any discussions of pardons of any individual involved in this inquiry", Jay Sekulow, another Trump lawyer, told the Times on Wednesday. He has since been charged with dozens of other financial crimes, most of which relate to his pro-Russia lobbying work in Ukraine.
In contrast to Flynn, Manafort has denied wrongdoing and is preparing for trial.
Van der Zwaan-the son-in-law of Russian oligarch German Khan, who is suing BuzzFeed News over its publication of the Trump-Russia dossier-pleaded guilty in February to lying to the special counsel.
Mr. Dowd has said privately that he did not know why Mr. Flynn had accepted a plea, according to one of the people. Last year, it was reported that the FBI was investigating potential server connections between the Trump Organization and Alfa Bank.
Justice Department lawyers in the civil case have said Mueller is well within his authority to bring the case. Dowd later claimed responsibility for the tweet.More news: Ex-Catalan minister Clara Ponsati arrested in Scotland
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President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman is asking a judge in Virginia to dismiss bank fraud and tax evasion charges filed against him. He was spearheading the campaign during several key moments during the race.
Dowd did not respond to an additional request for comment.
Legal experts said that if such a discussion did occur, it would not be appropriate, but it may not rise to the level of obstruction of justice.
Mr. van der Zwaan was an attorney at a firm that worked with Mr. Manafort and Mr. Gates to prepare a report used to defend Viktor F. Yanukovych, the former Ukrainian president, from global criticism over the prosecution and incarceration of one of his political rivals. He said that Person A made him aware that charges could be forthcoming against them in Ukraine over their report on Tymoshenko. Nobody can say it is criminal.
In December, after Flynn pleaded guilty, Trump was asked by reporters if he would be willing to pardon Flynn and Trump replied he wasn't ready to discuss it - "yet".
Raising such a possibility could be viewed as an incentive for witnesses not to cooperate with investigators. She added waiving their potential sentences is "not being now discussed at the White House".
"Last time I checked, the pardon power is official, not personal", Wright said.