President Trump’s one-time attorney asked Michael Flynn’s lawyer for a “heads up” if the former national security adviser intended to give Special Counsel Robert Mueller information damaging to the commander-in-chief, according to a transcript of a voicemail released Friday.
In the November 2017 phone call, John Dowd said the president was sympathetic to Flynn, whose legal team had just severed a joint representation deal with Trump’s attorneys. Flynn went on to cooperate with Mueller’s investigation into Russian election meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
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“I understand that you can’t join the joint defense; so that’s one thing. 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 got to — we got to deal with, not only for the president, but for the country. So … uh … you know, then-then, you know, we need some kind of heads-up,” Dowd said, according to the transcript.
Federal prosecutors released the transcript in a court filing. Flynn, who pleaded guilty last year to lying to federal investigators about contacts with Russians and is awaiting sentencing, said the call was an effort to obstruct his cooperation with Mueller’s probe.
Dowd, who also said on the voicemail that Trump’s warm feelings toward Flynn “still remain,” resigned as Trump’s lead attorney in March 2018. On Friday, Dowd denied that the voicemail was a bid to obstruct Flynn’s cooperation.
“During the joint defense relationship, counsel for the president provided to Flynn’s counsel documents, advice and encouragement to provide to SC [the special counsel] as part of his effort to cooperate with the SC,” Dowd said in a statement. “SC never raised or questioned the president’s counsel about these allegations despite numerous opportunities to do so.”
The voicemail is believed to be the one referenced in the Mueller report and was directed to Flynn’s attorney, Rob Kelner. It was left the same day Flynn pulled out of the joint agreement with Trump’s legal team, a sign that he was going to cooperate with prosecutors.
In a related development, the Justice Department resisted Judge Emmett Sullivan’s order to produce transcripts of Flynn’s calls with Russian officials, including former Russian ambassador Sergey Kisylak.
Flynn later admitted that he lied to investigators about his communications with Kisylak.
Prosecutors said they didn’t need to submit those transcripts because it is not part of his sentencing record.
“The government further represents that it is not relying on any other recordings, of any person, for purposes of establishing the defendant’s guilty or determining his sentence, nor are there other recordings that are part of the sentencing record,” prosecutors wrote.