Former White House lawyer sought to pay Manafort, Gates legal fees: report

Source: The Hill | September 21, 2018 | John Bowden

John Dowd, the former head of President Trump’s special counsel legal team, reportedly wanted to transfer thousands of dollars from a White House defense fund to help Paul Manafort and Rick Gates, who both worked on Trump’s 2016 campaign.

The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that Dowd, who left Trump’s legal defense team earlier this year over disagreements on its direction, told officials that Manafort and Gates were in immediate need of funds for their legal defenses against charges brought by the special counsel. Dowd wanted money transferred from a fund set up to pay legal costs of current Trump administration officials.

The idea was rebuffed by White House ethics advisers, the Journal reports, who said such a transfer to Manafort, Trump’s former campaign chairman, or Gates, a campaign adviser, would look like an attempt to stop their potential cooperation with authorities.

Dowd later told administration officials that he planned to donate $25,000 of his own money to Manafort’s defense, but he says that he was advised against that transfer as well, and decided against it.

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