John Dowd resigned Thursday as President Donald Trump’s lead attorney assigned to deal with the Russia probe, Jay Sekulow, one of Trump’s personal lawyers, confirmed to HuffPost.
“John Dowd is a friend and has been a valuable member of our legal team,” Sekulow said in a statement. “We will continue our ongoing representation of the President and our cooperation with the Office of Special Counsel.”
Dowd felt Trump was increasingly ignoring his advice on how to deal with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into whether Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign colluded with Russia, sources told The New York Times and The Washington Post.
“I love the president, and I wish him well,” Dowd told NPR on Thursday.
Dowd, who took over Trump’s legal team when attorney Marc Kasowitz departed in July, had encouraged Trump to cooperate with Mueller. Instead, Trump has repeatedly attacked Mueller’s credibility on Twitter in recent weeks.
Trump was “pleased” with Dowd’s decision to step down, according to the Times and Post. He had been upset with Dowd’s media appearances over the weekend in which he called on the Justice Department to end the special counsel’s investigation. Dowd initially said he was speaking on behalf of Trump, but later backtracked and said he was only speaking for himself.
Dowd’s resignation comes just days after Trump added former U.S. attorney Joseph diGenova to his legal team. The addition of diGenova, who has accused the FBI and Justice Department of trying to frame Trump in the Russian collusion probe, marks a more aggressive legal strategy in the handling of Mueller’s investigation.
Rumors of Dowd’s imminent departure have been swirling for several months. The Times reported earlier this month that Trump hoped to add to his legal team Emmet Flood, a veteran Washington attorney who represented President Bill Clinton in the late 1990s during his impeachment hearings. Trump immediately denied the report and tweeted that he was “VERY happy” with his legal team.
A representative for the White House declined to comment, while a request for comment from Dowd was not immediately answered.