- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 6, 2019

An audio file of a voicemail left by one of President Trump’s lawyers asking former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn for a “heads-up” if he told federal investigators damaging information about the president was made public Thursday.

The voicemail was left by former Trump attorney John Dowd, who reached out after Flynn pulled out of a joint defense agreement with the president in the midst of special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe.

Flynn said the call was among the communications he received from “persons connected to the administration or Congress” that was meant to obstruct his cooperation with the Mueller probe.

A full transcript of the call was released last week, but this was the first time the audio was made public.

Mr. Dowd called Flynn’s lawyer, Robert Kelner, asking if his client had any damaging information about the president and reminding him that Mr. Trump had warm feelings toward his former national security adviser.

“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,” Mr. Dowd said, according to the transcript.

The voicemail was a key disclosure in Mr. Mueller’s report on whether the president sought to obstruct the Russia probe. Although the report does not identify Mr. Dowd by name, he has since confirmed he made the call.

The report describes Mr. Dowd as “indignant and vocal” about Flynn abandoning the joint defense agreement.

Mr. Dowd denied the voicemail was an effort 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,” Mr. Dowd said in a statement. “SC never raised or questioned the president’s counsel about these allegations despite numerous opportunities to do so.”

The audio file was released the same day Mr. Kelner and another one of Mr. Flynn’s attorneys, Stephen Anthony, both of the firm Covington & Burling, notified the court that their services were terminated.

The lawyers wrote Mr. Flynn has hired new counsel, but they did not identify anyone.

Mr. Dowd’s voicemail was disclosed by prosecutors in a sentencing memo arguing Flynn, who pleaded guilty to lying to investigators about his contacts with the Russian ambassador, should not receive prison time because of his “substantial” cooperation.

“The defendant informed the government of multiple instances, both before and after his guilty plea, where either he or his attorneys received communications from persons connected to the Administration or Congress that could have affected both his willingness to cooperate and the completeness of that cooperation,” prosecutors wrote. “The defendant even provided a voicemail recording of one such communication.”

In response, U.S. District Judge Emmett Sullivan ordered the government to publicly release a transcript of the voicemail along with “any other audio recordings” of Flynn. Prosecutors only released the Dowd transcript, saying they were not “relying on any other recordings” as part of Flynn’s sentencing.

Flynn was scheduled to sentenced in December, but Judge Sullivan pushed it back to give him more time to cooperate with the government.

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