Trump aide communicated with ex-Russian intelligence officer during 2016 election

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Some conservatives have preemptively urged Trump to pardon family members and associates caught up in Mueller's investigation into the Trump campaign's ties to Russian Federation.

The White House pushed back Wednesday against reports that President Donald Trump's former lawyer had considered pardoning Michael Flynn and Paul Manafort, stressing that such clemency is not now under consideration for anyone tied to the investigation into alleged Russian election meddling.

The New York Times reported Wednesday that John Dowd, who recently resigned as Trump's lead attorney in the special counsel's investigation, allegedly raised the idea of the president pardoning Flynn and Manafort with their lawyers a year ago.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders also denied that any pardon proposals were made during her daily briefing with reporters on Wednesday.

According to the Times, Dowd talked about the idea as special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russian Federation probe MORE was building cases against Flynn and Manafort. Flynn pleaded guilty in December to lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation about his Russian contacts.

Both Mr. Manafort and Mr. Gates were indicted previous year for money laundering and other financial crimes committed while, the charges said, they tried to hide the money they received for their Ukraine work.

The alleged conversations happened as special counsel Robert Mueller was building cases against Flynn and Manafort as part of Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Mueller's team has yet to produce evidence that van der Zwaan, Gates, or Gates' business partner, Paul Manafort, were involved in a scheme to influence the 2016 presidential election.

Dowd did not respond to an additional request for comment.

Shortly after the Washington Post reported in July of 2017 that some of his lawyers had discussed using pardons to undercut Mueller's investigation, Trump noted in a tweet that he has the "complete power to pardon".

However, he added that Dowd represented Trump in his personal capacity, as opposed to Cobb, who represents the White House. Period. As far as I know, no discussions, ' he told the newspaper. (Kilimnik has denied any such links to Russian intelligence.) That is to say, Manafort was employing a person who probably had a direct line, and who knows what other secret connections, to the Kremlin.

The report provoked strong denials from the White House and Trump's attorneys.

"I don't want to talk about pardons for Michael Flynn yet", he said on December 15.