Dowd resigns as Trump's lawyer amid disagreements on strategy

President Donald Trump's lead lawyer, John Dowd, has resigned from the President's personal legal team handling the r...

Posted: Mar 22, 2018 6:06 PM
Updated: Mar 22, 2018 6:06 PM

President Donald Trump's lead lawyer, John Dowd, has resigned from the President's personal legal team handling the response to the Russia investigation.

"I love the President and wish him well," Dowd said in a statement to CNN.

Dowd, who has urged the President to cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller's probe and resist attacking him publicly, resigned as his disagreements with Trump intensified and the President stepped up his attacks on the special counsel. His departure raises questions about the direction of Trump's legal strategy and could signal a more aggressive posture on Trump's part.

Just days before his resignation, Dowd said in a statement the investigation should end, initially claiming he was speaking for the President before saying he was only speaking for himself. Two sources familiar with the matter said Trump had encouraged Dowd to speak out. But the statement only drew unwanted headlines and stoked turmoil within the President's legal team, according to multiple sources.

One source familiar with the decision described Dowd's resignation as a "mutual decision."

Despite public claims that he was happy with him, Trump complained privately in recent days that he thought Dowd was falling short of his duties, a source familiar with his thinking said. He questioned whether he had the energy or capacity to continue on in his role as the lead lawyer for the special counsel's investigation.

It was not immediately clear who would take over as the President's lead personal attorney, but Trump earlier this week hired another veteran Washington attorney, Joseph diGenova, to join his legal team. DiGenova was expected to play a forward-facing role on the legal team, filling what Trump felt was a lack of voices publicly defending him and challenging the special counsel.

DiGenova had publicly argued that Trump had been "framed" by FBI and Justice Department officials.

Dowd's departure also raises questions about the fate of negotiations between the President's attorneys and the special counsel's team over a potential interview with the President as Dowd has been the main point of contact with the special counsel's team throughout the investigation. One source said there is concern about the void Dowd will leave in his wake, particularly as Trump has had trouble finding top-flight lawyers to join his legal team.

Jay Sekulow, one of Trump's private attorneys, called Dowd a "friend" and said he "has been a valuable member of our legal team."

"We will continue our ongoing representation of the President and our cooperation with the Office of Special Counsel," Sekulow said in a statement.

The New York Times and The Washington Post first reported Dowd's resignation.

As the investigation seems to be intensifying, the President, according to multiple sources, is convinced he needs to take the reins of his own legal strategy and Trump has recently pushed to bring new attorneys onto his team.

The shift distressed some of his lawyers, namely Dowd, who felt blindsided and insulted by the President's hire of diGenova and other shifts, privately threatening to quit before ultimately resigning on Thursday, two sources said.

Trump had also continued to speak regularly with Marc Kasowitz, his longtime lawyer who stepped back from leading the team months ago but still remained involved.

Kasowitz had long recommended that Trump take a more aggressive posture toward the Mueller investigation. That strategy was on the backburner as Dowd and Ty Cobb, the White House's special counsel on the matter, worked with Mueller and urged the President to refrain from appearing to publicly undermine the Mueller investigation. Now that has all changed, as the President has reverted to his initial strategy to attack. An experienced cable news commentator, diGenova shares the President's view that the FBI and the Justice Department have waged a corrupt battle against him.

Dowd also faced criticism over his handling of the response to the guilty plea of Trump's former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who became the first Trump administration official to face charges in Mueller's investigation.

Dowd landed himself and the President in hot water after a tweet he says he authored suggested Trump knew Flynn lied to the FBI in January, reviving questions of whether Trump committed obstruction of justice when he allegedly asked then-FBI Director James Comey to drop the Flynn investigation.

"I had to fire General Flynn because he lied to the Vice President and the FBI. He has pled guilty to those lies," the tweet on Trump's account said.

The tweet led Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, to note that the committee is investigating obstruction of justice and said: "What we're beginning to see is the putting together of a case of obstruction of justice."

In a testy exchange with CNN, Dowd said he authored the tweet, but then suggested it was incorrect, claiming that "at the time of the firing no one including Justice had accused Flynn of lying."

He declined to answer additional questions, saying: "Enough already ... I don't feed the haters."

The response was characteristic of Dowd's hard-charging style, which initially endeared him to the President and made him the lead attorney on the President's legal team after Trump all but discarded Kasowitz in July.

The latest shake-up now leaves questions about whether Trump's legal team will pursue the strategy that Dowd laid out in the wake of Flynn's guilty plea, when Dowd claimed that Trump could not be prosecuted for obstruction of justice because he is the US President and therefore its "chief law enforcement officer."

Dowd's claim signaled the President's legal team plans to rely on an untested theory that is heavily disputed by legal scholars: whether a sitting President can be charged with obstruction of justice or indicted at all.

West Lafayette
Partly Cloudy
79° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 80°
Kokomo
Clear
77° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 79°
Rensselaer
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 72°
Fowler
Partly Cloudy
79° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 80°
Williamsport
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 72°
Crawfordsville
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 72°
Frankfort
Partly Cloudy
72° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 72°
Delphi
Clear
71° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 71°
Monticello
Clear
71° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 71°
Logansport
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 72°
Sunny and warmer today but a chance of rain for Friday
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 777417

Reported Deaths: 14039
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1068671818
Lake573071031
Allen43592701
Hamilton37697427
St. Joseph37547568
Elkhart29916472
Tippecanoe23779232
Vanderburgh23714405
Porter19712327
Johnson19067395
Hendricks18320323
Clark13789199
Madison13751350
Vigo12980256
Monroe12717180
LaPorte12655225
Delaware11240198
Howard10874237
Kosciusko9860124
Hancock8896151
Bartholomew8361157
Warrick8257157
Floyd8161183
Grant7478181
Boone7317105
Wayne7281201
Morgan7004143
Marshall6381117
Dubois6346118
Cass6136112
Noble608391
Dearborn607878
Henry6015111
Jackson522077
Shelby518498
Lawrence5046129
Gibson473797
Montgomery465592
Clinton464356
DeKalb463985
Harrison460177
Huntington431582
Whitley422545
Steuben415961
Miami412673
Jasper404657
Knox398391
Putnam390262
Wabash374284
Adams360356
Ripley355571
Jefferson354587
White342654
Daviess3119101
Wells306681
Greene299485
Decatur294793
Posey289635
Fayette288164
Scott287658
LaGrange279173
Clay278649
Washington258138
Randolph248784
Jennings245049
Spencer241531
Fountain239350
Starke232159
Owen227359
Sullivan225143
Fulton211146
Jay204332
Carroll201023
Orange194956
Perry194939
Vermillion183944
Rush179427
Tipton174748
Franklin174535
Parke159116
Pike143934
Blackford139032
Pulaski125148
Newton124337
Benton111215
Crawford106817
Brown106743
Martin92715
Warren89115
Switzerland8658
Union73910
Ohio59011
Unassigned0429

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events