The Wall Street Journal is reporting that former Trump attorney John Dowd tried to use the White House legal defense fund to pay off legal fees for both Paul Manafort and Rick Gates.
According to the Journal, Dowd “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.”
However, the idea was rejected by some White House advisers on the grounds that Gates and Manafort were being prosecuted for crimes they committed before coming into Trump’s orbit — and the legal defense fund is only supposed to be used to pay for defendants who have allegedly committed crimes while working for the president.
Dowd did not give up on his crusade to help out Manafort, however, as he started soliciting donations from Trump associates and pledged to help fund the legal defense effort with $25,000 of his own money.
Dowd tells that Journal that he never wound up putting up his own money to help pay for Manafort’s legal fees.
“Upon the advice I received, I did not make that contribution,” he said.
Dowd also said that he was not trying to interfere with Mueller’s probe by raising money to help Manafort and Gates, but was rather outraged at the supposedly unjust way the two men were being treated by prosecutors.
“I care about a lot of people,” he told the Journal.