Donald Trump′s top lawyer resigns as Russia probe gains traction | News | DW | 22.03.2018
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Donald Trump's top lawyer resigns as Russia probe gains traction

John Dowd, who called for an end to the probe, has stepped down from the US president's legal team. He was reportedly frustrated with Trump for not heeding his advice when it came to the growing investigation.

US President Donald Trump's leading lawyer for the federal investigation into Russian collusion resigned on Thursday.

Attorney John Dowd was the lead negotiator between special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation and the White House. However, local media reported that he had grown frustrated with Trump for not heeding his advice with regard to the probe.

Trump on Thursday said he "would like to" testify before Mueller, a former FBI director, and his team shortly after Dowd resigned.

Prior to his resignation, Dowd had reportedly been in talks with Mueller's investigation, but had not yet determined whether Trump would be available to testify.

Read more: What Mueller's indictments of former Trump campaign officials mean for the president

'No collusion'

Last week, Trump took to Twitter to decry the probe, saying Mueller's team had been stacked with "13 hardened Democrats."

"The Mueller probe should never have been started in that there was no collusion and there was no crime," Trump said in a tweet. "It was based on fraudulent activities."

'Dowd is a friend'

According to The New York Times, Trump was pleased with Dowd's decision to resign, saying he was angered by the attorney's decision to call for Mueller to end the probe last weekend.

"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," said Jay Sekulow, another one of Trump's lawyers.

Trump in Moscow at the Miss Universe pageant

Mueller is looking at Trump's trip to Moscow to host the Miss Universe pageant

Closer to Trump

Mueller's investigation has increasingly focused on Trump's inner circle in the White House as well as his various business associates. Earlier this month, Mueller delivered a subpoena to the Trump Organization, requesting material related to Trump's businesses, especially those with Russian links.

Read more: Deutsche Bank 'expects to face Trump-Russia probe'

The probe is also scrutinizing Trump's 2013 trip to the Russian capital, Moscow, to host the Miss Universe pageant. He reportedly collected $20 million (€16.3 million) in fees. The investigation has also looked into whether Trump attempted to obstruct justice.

ls/kl (AFP, AP, Reuters)

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