John Dowd, an attorney who represented President Donald Trump for the first part of the Robert Mueller’s investigation, left a bumbling voicemail asking an attorney representing Michael Flynn for a “heads-up” on where the special counsel probe was headed shortly before the former national security adviser took a plea deal.
Flynn pleaded guilty in late 2017 to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russians in an interview with agents at the White House on Jan. 24, 2017, just days after Trump took office. Flynn resigned as Trump’s national security adviser in mid-February 2017.
Much of Dowd’s voicemail was previously revealed in the redacted version of Mueller’s special counsel report. Dowd left the message on Nov. 22, 2017. Flynn took his plea deal on Dec. 1, 2017, and is currently awaiting sentencing.
In the voicemail, Dowd said he was “sympathetic” to the situation and understood that Flynn might be exploring a deal with the government before asking Flynn’s attorney, Rob Kelner, to provide information on where the Mueller investigation was headed.
“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’ve got to-we got to deal with, not only for the President, but for the country,” Dowd said. “So... uh... you know, then-then, you know, we need some kind of heads up.”
Dowd also seemed to hint at the possibility of a pardon from Trump. “Remember what we’ve always said about the president and his feelings towards Flynn and that still remains,” Dowd said.
Dowd, reached on Friday, called the issue “nonsense.”
In his statement, Dowd called the Mueller report a “baseless, political document designed to smear and damage the reputation of counsel and innocent people.”
The government, now represented by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia following the dissolution of Mueller’s special counsel office, declined to provide copies of Flynn’s phone calls with Russian officials, as requested by the judge in Flynn’s case.
Mueller’s team said in December 2018 that Flynn shouldn’t serve prison time, and that his cooperation was “particularly valuable because he was one of the few people with long-term and firsthand insight regarding events and issues under investigation.” But Mueller’s team also said the court should reject Flynn’s “attempt to minimize” the seriousness of his conduct. “He does not need to be warned it is a crime to lie to federal agents to know the importance of telling them the truth,” Mueller’s team wrote. “The defendant undoubtedly was aware, in light of his ‘many years’ working with the FBI, that lying to the FBI carries serious consequences.”
U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan previously asked Flynn about treason and said he was disgusted by Flynn’s criminal offenses. “Arguably, you sold your country out,” he told Flynn.