Former White House lawyer John Dowd, who resigned earlier this year amid disagreements over the direction of President Trump’s legal strategy, wanted to transfer thousands of dollars from a legal defense fund for Trump administration staffers to help former Trump campaign officials Paul Manafort and Rick Gates, The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.
According to the Journal, the idea was rejected by the administration’s ethics advisers, who said that the fund was meant to cover legal costs for current White House aides and that such a transfer to Manafort or Gates would appear as an attempt to stop their potential testimony.
Dowd planned to donate $25,000 of his own money to Manafort’s defense fund a day before Gates would plead guilty and pledge to cooperate with federal prosecutors against Manafort, but he was advised and decided against it.
“Upon the advice I received, I did not make that contribution,” he told the Journal.
The Hill added:
Manafort plead guilty earlier this month ahead of a second trial in Washington, D.C. after previously being found guilty on eight counts of financial crimes last month by a Virginia jury. A plea agreement signed between Manafort and the special counsel’s office contains a cooperation agreement, according to court documents.
Trump has previously praised Manafort publicly for refusing to “break” against him amid the ongoing investigation into allegations of Russian collusion with the Trump campaign in 2016.