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Ex-Trump Lawyer Reportedly Wanted to Help Pay Manafort, Gates Legal Fees With Money from WH Legal Defense Fund

Former Trump lawyer John Dowd was trying to help pay the legal fees of Paul Manafort and Rick Gates earlier this year.

The Wall Street Journal reports today that not only was Dowd––who left POTUS’ legal team in March––putting up his own money and trying to get people to donate, he was also attempting to “divert money from the White House legal defense fund”:

John Dowd, who at the time was heading Mr. Trump’s legal team, at the start of the year told associates of the president he wanted to direct money from the legal defense fund set up for White House officials and campaign aides to the lawyers for Messrs. Manafort and Gates, according to people familiar with the matter…

On Feb. 22, Mr. Dowd told associates of the president in an email that Messrs. Manafort and Gates needed funds immediately, according to people familiar with the matter. He said he planned to donate $25,000 to Mr. Manafort’s legal defense fund the next day.

Trump advisers and people close to the President warned it would be a be a bad idea for a number of reasons, including the perception that “the president’s legal team was seeking to interfere in the investigation.”

Dowd confirmed to the Journal that he considered the donation, but “upon the advice I received, I did not make that contribution.” The report says he told them he was “motivated by frustration with how Mr. Manafort had been treated by investigators.”

[image via screengrab]

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Josh Feldman is a Senior Editor at Mediaite. Email him here: [email protected] Follow him on Twitter: @feldmaniac