The court-ordered release of the transcript of a 2017 voicemail left by Donald Trump’s lawyer for the defense attorney representing Michael Flynn dropped on Friday, and it’s clear that something is very, very wrong with it. The impetus for John Dowd’s call to Flynn attorney Rob Kelner was that Flynn had decided to withdraw from the joint defense agreement that had allowed the attorneys for Trump and Flynn to share information about the special counsel’s Russia investigation. Flynn’s withdrawal was a sure sign that he had begun cooperating with the government, prompting Dowd to leave the following voicemail for Kelner stating that he understands his “situation” and reminding him of Trump’s fond “feelings” for Flynn. Much of the transcript was previously excerpted in the Mueller report, but the halting nature of Dowd’s cryptic inferences are striking to say that least.
The voicemail Flynn's lawyer received upon dropping out of the Joint Defense Agreement, just filed. pic.twitter.com/t7ZfLa3iPy
— southpaw (@nycsouthpaw) May 31, 2019
A few things are notable here. First, there’s no reason for Dowd to be mentioning anything whatsoever about a “national security issue” since he was Trump’s personal attorney and did not hold a government post in any way. Second, Dowd is blatantly soliciting a “heads up” if Trump is in jeopardy, and he is also dangling a pardon for Flynn, however ambiguously. The whole thing also just reads like someone leaving a message that he hopes will never see the light of day and, if it does, is just ambiguous enough to be legally benign.
One big question here is whether Trump knew Dowd was leaving this voicemail.
Another piece of missing information in the court filing is its exclusion of the other transcripts sought by Judge Emmet Sullivan of Flynn’s communications with then-Russian Ambassador Surgey Kislyak. Some legal reporters think Sullivan will have something to say about that omission.
Judge Emmet Sullivan of DC sought transcripts of Flynn's calls with Russian ambassador Kislyak, but govt said that "it is not relying on any other recordings, of any person, for purposes of establishing the defendant’s guilt or determining his sentence." Stay tuned for judge.
— Spencer Hsu (@hsu_spencer) May 31, 2019
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