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Trump's former attorney John Dowd. Photo: Jin Lee / Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Trump's former lawyer John Dowd suggested to Michael Flynn and Paul Manafort's lawyers that Trump would pardon them if they did not work with Robert Mueller's probe into the Trump campaign's relationship with Russia during the 2016 election, the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: The discussion about pardons came as Mueller was closing in on Flynn and Manafort, and could indicate that the White House was intending to influence the former Trump associates' decisions on whether to cooperate with the investigation.

Details, according to the Times:

  • Dowd didn't know that Flynn had accepted a plea deal and had told Flynn's lawyer that the President didn't believe the case against him, according to one of the Times' sources.
  • It's not clear that Dowd talked to Trump before approaching Flynn and Manafort's lawyers about pardons.
  • Dowd and the President's other lawyers denied that there were any discussions of pardons.
  • If there was an offer of a pardon, there's division among legal experts over whether it would constitute obstruction of justice.

Go deeper

Mike Allen, author of AM
3 mins ago - Axios on HBO

GOP senator smacks Trump

Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) told “Axios on HBO” he’s not sure former President Donald Trump would win the Republican nomination if he ran in 2024 — a rare voice of criticism from within the party.

  • When I raised the conventional wisdom that Trump would be expected to win the nomination, Cassidy jumped in.“
  • I don't know that,” the senator said during our interview in Chalmette, La.
14 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Congress begins yearend sprint

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The House and Senate face an onslaught of deadlines key to fulfilling members' campaign promises and keeping the government afloat as they return from recess this week.

Why it matters: The next few weeks will be pivotal to enacting President Biden's agenda — and determining how the Democratic Party fares in the midterm elections.

Updated 5 hours ago - World

Up to 17 U.S. missionaries kidnapped in Haiti

Haitian soldiers guard the public prosecutor's office in Port-au-Prince this month. Photo: Richard Pierrin/AFP via Getty Images

Children were among up to 17 American Christian missionaries and their relatives kidnapped by a gang in Haiti on Saturday, the New York Times first reported.

The latest: Haitian police inspector Frantz Champagne identified the 400 Mawozo gang as the group responsible, in a statement to AP.