The White House has denied a report claiming that a lawyer for President Trump raised the prospect of pardoning former advisers Michael Flynn and Paul Manafort as the FBI special counsel was building cases against them.
The New York Times reported Wednesday that John Dowd, who resigned last week, raised the subject with their respective lawyers last year because Trump’s team was concerned about what they might reveal to FBI Special Counsel Robert Mueller as part of a deal.
Dowd, who announced his resignation last week, denied the claims to the Times: “There were no discussions. Period.”
“I have only been asked about pardons by the press and have routinely responded on the record that no pardons are under discussion or under consideration at the White House,” White House lawyer Ty Cobb said in a statement.
At the White House press briefing, Press Secretary Sarah Sanders responded to questions about the article by referring back to Cobb’s statement.
The Times reported that it was not clear if Dowd had discussed the prospect of pardons with President Trump, but that Trump had asked about the extent of his pardoning power in a meeting last year with lawyers from the White House Counsel’s Office.
Flynn, a former national security adviser, pleaded guilty in December to lying to the FBI about contacts with the Russian ambassador and has agreed to work with the special counsel.
Manafort, a former Trump campaign chairman, has pleaded not guilty. His legal team filed a motion Tuesday to dismiss a second round of charges brought by Mueller, claiming that he exceeded the scope of the investigation into Russian meddling and potential collusion with Trump campaign associates during the 2016 presidential election.
Fox News’ Serafin Gomez and Brooke Singman contributed to this report.