Those who have read the Mueller report, all three of you, already know that Donald Trump’s lawyer floated pardons to Michael Flynn and Michael Cohen to dissuade them from cooperating with the government. Now CNN reports:
The Justice Department on Friday released a more complete transcript of a voice mail from Donald Trump’s attorney John Dowd to Rob Kelner, the lawyer for Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn, where he sought information about Flynn’s discussions with the special counsel on the eve of his cooperation deal.
. . . .
The release of the transcript — and lack of the other release of transcripts — came following Judge Emmet Sullivan’s unusual order last week seeking public disclosure of documents used in Flynn’s case as he heads toward sentencing Flynn for lying to investigators.
Overall, the voice mail highlights a call that special counsel Robert Mueller investigated as potential obstruction of justice by the President. Dowd had made the call on November 22, 2017, after Flynn’s team said it could no longer communicate with the White House, just before Flynn pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate in Mueller’s investigation.
In the voice mail transcript, most of which was previously documented in the Mueller report, Dowd said it “wouldn’t surprise me” if Flynn was about to make a deal, but if it “implicates the President, then we’ve got a national security issue, or … some issue … not only for the President, but for the country.” He then asked for a “heads up,” according to the transcript. Dowd also wanted to remind Flynn about “the President and his feelings towards Flynn.”
The call “could have had the potential to affect Flynn’s decision to cooperate, as well as the extent of that cooperation,” Mueller wrote in his report on potential obstruction of justice by the President during the investigation. “We do not have evidence establishing whether the President knew about or was involved in his counsel’s communications with Flynn’s counsel.” Mueller credited Flynn for turning over the voice mail to investigators so they could investigate possible obstruction of the probe, according to a previous court filing.
If you think Dowd did that on his own without talking to Trump, you are naive. Here’s the text of the voice mail:
Hey, Rob, uhm, this is John again. Uh, maybe, I-I-I’m-I’m sympathetic; I understand your situation, but let me see if I can’t … state it in … starker terms. If you have … and it wouldn’t surprise me if you’ve gone on to make a deal with, and, uh, work with the government, uh … I understand that you can’t join the joint defense; so that’s one thing. If, on the other hand, we have, there’s information that. .. implicates the President, then we’ve got a national security issue, or maybe a national security issue, I don’t know … some issue, we got to-we got to deal with, not only for the President, but for the country. So … uh … you know, then-then, you know, we need some kind of heads up. Um, just for the sake of … protecting all our interests, if we can, without you having to give up any … confidential information. So, uhm, and if it’s the former, then, you know, remember what we’ve always said about the President and his feelings toward Flynn and, that still remains, but-Well, in any event, uhm, let me know, and, uh, I appreciate your listening and taking the time. Thanks, Pal.
This is not subtle. An accurate paraphrase: if you’re thinking of making a deal, remember Trump still likes your client and could pardon him.
When Justin Amash said Trump “engaged in impeachable conduct” he was right. This is just one example of many.
[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]