On Friday, The Wall Street Journal released a report that raises new questions about the actions of Donald J. Trump and his team, including the efforts of his former lawyer, John Dowd.
According to the report, Dowd, who headed Trump’s criminal defense team at the time, “sought to help pay legal fees for Paul Manafort and Richard Gates, initially trying to divert money from the White House legal defense fund and later soliciting donors and pledging $25,000 of his own.”
The report goes on to say that Dowd’s idea to do so was “rebuffed by ethics advisers in the White House,” and although no payments were ultimately made, I’m afraid the damage is already done. With this news, it seems Dowd was intent on trying to keep Manafort and Gates quiet on Trump’s behalf.
Regardless, while it is worth noting that neither Manafort nor Gates would have been eligible for these funds since their alleged crimes pre-dated the Trump campaign, it’s the principle nonetheless because it raises all kinds of questions. Especially in regards to who may have been privy and/or involved, including but not limited to the attorneys representing Manafort and Gates.
Also, the timing of it all is particularly interesting, because Dowd’s plans were allegedly shut down the day before Gates pleaded guilty.
Since we know that Manafort is now cooperating with Special Counsel Robert Mueller, you can’t help but wonder if his team has taken note and will ask Manafort about what communications took place between Dowd, other Trump lawyers, or White House personnel regarding this alleged hush-money plan.