Has Donald Trump’s former lawyer John Dowd sold him out to Robert Mueller?


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Earlier today it surfaced that Donald Trump’s recently-resigned attorney John Dowd had long ago taken part in dangling pardons in the faces of Michael Flynn and Paul Manafort. We then very quickly saw that Trump didn’t want this news out there, as he almost immediately announced the firing of VA Secretary David Shulkin, a long-rumored move that he’d clearly been saving for when he needed a distraction. The question, of course, is why Dowd is putting this damaging revelation out there about the would-be pardons.

As Palmer Report spelled out when the pardon story first surfaced, these pardons were dangled at least five months ago, and clearly never did happen. So the story here is absolutely not that Trump is gearing up to pardon anyone. The story is that Trump had Dowd try to sell Flynn and Manafort on pardons that were never going to happen. So it’s time to talk about why Dowd quit, and his longtime relationship with Mueller that predates his representation of Trump.

It was widely presumed that John Dowd resigned last week because Trump was interviewing potential new attorneys, which meant that Dowd would soon be fired or demoted anyway. But now it appears there may have been more to it. Although this is an area that’s never been tested in court, there’s a strong legal argument that Trump committed felony obstruction of justice by offering to pardon his alleged co-conspirators in exchange for their lack of cooperation with prosecutors. There’s also an argument that Dowd broke the law by delivering the pardon message to Flynn and Manafort.

So it’s entirely feasible that Dowd quit because he feared he’d be prosecuted for obstruction of justice, particularly after Mueller’s recent prosecution of Alex Van Der Zwaan made clear that Mueller is willing to bust attorneys who have tried to obstruct the investigation. The big question, of course, is why the five month old news of the dangled pardons is just now surfacing, shortly after Dowd resigned.

Michael Flynn, who cut a plea deal four months ago, has surely long ago informed Robert Mueller about the pardon offer that Donald Trump had John Dowd deliver. In that regard, the most likely source of today’s pardon story is Mueller himself. Is this his way of telling Dowd that it’s time to come in and cut a deal? Or does this mean that Dowd has already cut a deal? In any case, the big takeaway is that Trump didn’t want this pardon story out there today. He thinks this is bad news for him.

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