Trump's lead Russia probe lawyer resigns - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Trump's lead Russia probe lawyer resigns

John Dowd, President Trump's personal attorney, resigned Thursday. Dowd recently clashed with the president over legal strategy on how to deal with the Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia Investigation. (Source: AP Photo/Richard Drew) John Dowd, President Trump's personal attorney, resigned Thursday. Dowd recently clashed with the president over legal strategy on how to deal with the Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia Investigation. (Source: AP Photo/Richard Drew)

(RNN) - John Dowd, the lead counsel on President Donald Trump's personal team defending him in the Russia probe, resigned Thursday amid frustrations between him and the president.

Dowd confirmed his departure to multiple media outlets. "I love the president and I wish him well," he said.

The legal team reshuffle comes amid word that Robert Mueller's special counsel investigation into Russia's involvment in the 2016 election is looking into possible ties between the Trump campaign and Cambridge Analytica, the Associated Press reported. That organization that allegedly took the data of more than 50 million Facebook users.

In addition, the president told reporters on Thursday that he would like to talk to Mueller. "Yes, I would like to," he said at the end of a news conference announcing tariffs against China.

Dowd had spearheaded the president's defense against the ongoing special counsel investigation since the summer, taking over for New York attorney Marc Kasowitz.

Jay Sekulow, who is also on Trump's Russia probe team, also confirmed the departure to the Associated Press.

"John Dowd is a friend and 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," he said.

The resignation was a mutual decision because the president has lost confidence in Dowd's leadership, while Dowd grew frustrated with the new attorneys being added to the defense, the Washington Post reported.

Trump recently hired Joseph diGenova, a former U.S. attorney and current TV commentator, for his legal defense. He starts this week, the Associated Press said.

DiGenova has suggested that FBI officials were part of a plot to exonerate Hillary Clinton and frame Donald Trump.

Last week, Dowd had called for the investigation to be shut down, saying it had been poisoned by partisanship after the firing of FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.

“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 manufactured by McCabe’s boss James Comey based upon a fraudulent and corrupt Dossier,” Dowd said.

He later claimed that he was not speaking on the president's behalf. 

Just 11 days ago, Trump tweeted how happy he is with the legal team helping him navigate the probe, and mentioned John Dowd by name.

"The Failing New York Times purposely (sic) wrote a false story stating that I am unhappy with my legal team on the Russia case and am going to add another lawyer to help out. Wrong. I am VERY happy with my lawyers, John Dowd, Ty Cobb and Jay Sekulow. They are doing a great job," Trump said.

He wrote the tweet about a New York Times story that said he was in discussions to hire veteran lawyer Emmet Flood, who represented Bill Clinton during the impeachment process.

The special counsel investigation into Russia's interference in the 2016 election began in May of last year after the firing of FBI Director James Comey. 

Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein appointed Mueller, a former FBI director, to lead the investigation. Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the investigation because of his involvement in the Trump political campaign.

There is concern that Trump may fire Mueller as the investigation continues. The president lashed out at the special counsel by name in tweets on Wednesday.

He tweeted a lengthy quote by lawyer Alan Dershowitz saying that a special counsel should never have been appointed.

Mueller's team is in talks to interview the president, CNN reported, focusing on his role in the firings of Comey and former national security adviser Michael Flynn, his role in crafting a misleading statement about Donald Trump Jr.'s role in a June 2016 Trump Tower meeting with Russians, as well as his role in the meetings.

Republican lawmakers said this week that they believe Mueller will be allowed to continue the probe unmolested.

"I don't think Bob Mueller is going anywhere. I think there is widespread feeling, and the President's lawyers obviously agree, that he ought to be allowed to finish the job," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said.

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