John Dowd, the lead attorney representing President Donald Trump in the special-counsel investigation, resigned Thursday, two sources briefed on the matter told the New York Times.
Dowd, who began leading Trump’s legal team last summer, has repeatedly floated the idea of resigning and ultimately decided to step down due to concerns that Trump was ignoring his advice.
Dowd’s departure was the result of a disagreement with the president over legal strategy; Trump wanted to sit for an interview with Special Counsel Robert Mueller while Dowd believed the move was ill-advised.
The disagreement, among other developments, reportedly led the president to lose confidence in Dowd’s ability to manage his defense, prompting a mutual agreement that he should resign.
Dowd refused to comment on his departure, other than to say, “I love the president and wish him well.”
Jay Sekulow, a spokesman for the legal team, told the Washington Post, “John has been a valuable part of the team and a friend and we will continue to cooperate fully with the special counsel.”
The move comes just three days after Trump asked Joseph diGenova to join his legal team. The addition of diGenova, who developed a reputation for defending the president aggressively on cable news, reportedly didn’t sit well with some other team members.
Dowd called on the Department of Justice Saturday to shut down Mueller’s investigation, arguing the probe was irretrievably “corrupted” by political bias.
“I pray that Acting Attorney General Rosenstein will follow the brilliant and courageous example of the FBI Office of Professional Responsibility and Attorney General Jeff Sessions and bring an end to alleged Russia Collusion investigation [sic] manufactured by McCabe’s boss James Comey based upon a fraudulent and corrupt Dossier,” Dowd said in an emailed statement.
Sessions fired former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe Friday — just two days short of his previously scheduled retirement — for “lacking candor” during an interview regarding his handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server.