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John Dowd reportedly wanted to cover Manafort and Gates’ legal fees

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John Dowd
John
Dowd, President Donald Trump’s former lawyer.


Brendan
McDermid/Reuters



  • John Dowd, President Donald Trump’s former lead defense
    attorney, reportedly tried to help pay the legal fees for Paul
    Manafort and Rick Gates earlier this year.
  • At one point, Dowd is said to have pledged $25,000 of
    his own money to help Manafort, but he backed down after
    Trump’s associates advised him against it out of fear that it
    could appear to be an attempt by the White House to interfere
    in the Russia probe.
  • Dowd said he did not try to cover Manafort’s and Gates’
    legal fees out of concern that they would cooperate, but rather
    because he cares “about a lot of people” and was “offended as a
    citizen and a lawyer.”

John Dowd, the defense attorney who formerly led President Donald
Trump’s legal team, tried to help pay legal fees for Paul
Manafort and Rick Gates earlier this year, The Wall Street
Journal reported Friday.

Dowd initially tried to use money from the White House’s legal
defense fund and later solicited donors, sources familiar with
the matter told The Journal. He even reportedly pledged $25,000
of his own money at one point but ultimately didn’t make the
contribution.

Dowd told the Journal that he took those actions because he was
opposed to how investigators had treated Manafort.

“I care about a lot of people,” Dowd said. “I was offended as a
citizen and a lawyer.”

He added that he was not worried about Manafort and Gates
becoming cooperating witnesses in the special counsel Robert
Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016
election and whether the Trump campaign colluded with Moscow.

Manafort pleaded guilty last week to two counts of obstruction
and conspiracy and has since been cooperating with the special
counsel.

Gates pleaded guilty in February to one count of conspiracy and
one count of lying to the FBI and is also cooperating.

One day before Gates’ guilty plea, according to the Journal, Dowd
emailed several Trump associates that Manafort and Gates needed
more money to cover their legal expenses immediately, and that he
was planning on giving $25,000 to Manafort’s legal defense fund
the next day.

He said he backed after people advised against the move, warning
it may look like an attempt by the Trump team to interfere in
Mueller’s ongoing investigation.

After Manafort’s guilty plea was announced last week, The New
York Times reported that Dowd emailed
members of Trump’s legal team and said Manafort “has no info on
president or campaign.”

This is not the first time Dowd’s name has cropped up in
connection to speculation about whether the president’s legal
team sought to prevent witnesses from talking to investigators.

Earlier this year, The Times reported that Dowd dangled pardons
to Manafort and former national security adviser Michael Flynn
when speaking to their lawyers last summer. Flynn pleaded guilty
in December to lying to the FBI and has been cooperating with
Mueller since then.

Dowd resigned as Trump’s lead defense lawyer in March.

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