John Dowd's resignation tells you a lot about Donald Trump's mindset

The resignation of John Dowd, ...

Posted: Mar 22, 2018 5:23 PM
Updated: Mar 22, 2018 5:23 PM

The resignation of John Dowd, Donald Trump's top personal attorney, is the latest -- and largest -- signal that the President of the United States is shifting his strategy in regards special counsel Bob Mueller's ongoing probe of Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

Even as Mueller's questions for Trump have come into much sharper relief over the past 10 days, Trump has upped his personal attacks on the former FBI director even while adding controversial conservative attorney/talking head Joseph di Genova to his team. And now, the Dowd resignation.

The message is unmistakable: The closer Mueller and his team move to Trump himself -- the terms of an interview between the special counsel and the President remain a matter of considerable debate -- the more the President appears to be bracing for a very negative end result from the probe and putting the pieces in places to win the PR battle that will follow the conclusion of the Mueller probe.

Remember that Dowd was part of the legal braintrust that assured Trump that this whole Mueller probe would be wrapped up by the end of the year, that there was absolutely nothing to worry about and that the best course of action for Trump was to ignore Mueller.

What appears to have dawned on Trump is that playing nice (or his version of nice) with Mueller isn't working. Mueller doesn't appear to be moving to end the probe any time soon and he seems disinclined to treat Trump nicely. Of course, this was always a ridiculous supposition by Trump: Mueller is leading a criminal probe and will go wherever the evidence leads. The idea that he would go easy on the President because Trump didn't attack him by name is totally without grounding in anything we know about Mueller.

But, that certainly seems like the bill of goods that Trump's legal team sold to the President, likely as a way to manage his worst instincts when it came to the Mueller probe. This is all taken care of, boss, you can imagine them telling Trump. It's all going to be over soon and you are going to be very happy with the results.

Trump bought that view -- or at least didn't outright dismiss it -- for quite a while. And, less than two weeks ago, he was insisting that reports that he was plotting a shakeup of his legal team was false.

Tweeted Trump: "The Failing New York Times purposely 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 and have shown conclusively that there was no Collusion with Russia."

That veil has been torn off for Trump now -- likely the result of the face-to-face meeting late last week between his lawyers and the special counsel's office in which Mueller and his team went over the areas they are interested in talking to the president about: The June 2016 meeting with the Russians at Trump Tower, his role in crafting a statement from his son Don Jr. about that meeting, his firing of Mike Flynn as the national security adviser and the firing of James Comey as FBI director.

What that meeting seems to drive home for Trump is the reality of his situation. And the fact that the "play nice" strategy with Mueller had gotten him exactly zilch.

And so, Trump began taking matters into his own hands. The hiring of di Genova, an attorney who has regularly espoused the idea that there is a deep-state conspiracy within the government trying to frame Trump for Russia's election meddling, was the first sign of the change. Then came Trump's tweets over the weekend -- in which he called out Mueller by name and, wrongly, said there were 13 Democrats on Mueller's team. The resignation of Dowd feels of a piece with those moves.

This is all Trump taking back control of his own messaging around the special counsel investigation. He tried it "their" way. Now he is going to do it his way.

And what is Trump's way? A relentless effort to undermine Mueller and those who work for him in hopes of discrediting whatever the special counsel ultimately finds. If Trump, di Genova and the rest can sell the idea to the conservative base that Mueller -- a Republican who was appointed FBI director by George W. Bush -- is a partisan Democrat pursuing the Deep State's anti-Trump agenda, then it lessens the blow of whatever Mueller finds. OF course Mueller's report is negative about Trumpworld! He's part of the establishment! And all that.

The simple fact is this: Trump has come to the realization that Mueller has backed him into a corner. And when Trump's back is against the wall, he reverts back to what (and who) he knows best. And that's attack, attack, attack. Get ready. Because that's what's coming.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

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Confirmed Cases: 118587

Reported Deaths: 3310
CountyConfirmedDeaths
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Harrison549185
Jackson480088
Rankin404686
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Jones296684
Washington2627100
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Neshoba1868111
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Sunflower164349
Warren156156
Monroe153873
Pontotoc150620
Marshall148430
Lincoln143359
Pike140656
Copiah139336
Scott127029
Coahoma125837
Union125825
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Simpson123149
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Tate121039
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Winston85221
Tishomingo82741
Attala80527
Clarke77053
Clay71022
Jasper69617
Walthall64427
Calhoun63313
Noxubee60217
Smith60216
Yalobusha56416
Montgomery55823
Lawrence54414
Claiborne53916
Tunica53717
Perry52423
Carroll50312
Stone49114
Greene48118
Humphreys45117
Amite42813
Quitman4236
Jefferson Davis42112
Webster37813
Benton36710
Wilkinson34221
Kemper33315
Sharkey28715
Jefferson27910
Franklin2513
Choctaw2096
Issaquena1074
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 161537

Reported Deaths: 2718
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson23769383
Mobile17039318
Tuscaloosa10539141
Montgomery10435199
Madison946798
Shelby756365
Baldwin674369
Lee662465
Calhoun468962
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Morgan426335
Houston421234
DeKalb351229
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Limestone295131
Walker285593
Talladega273937
Cullman260025
Lauderdale237143
Jackson221917
Autauga210331
Colbert208232
Franklin207732
Blount198825
Russell19763
Chilton190932
Dallas188127
Coffee182611
Dale180852
Covington176729
Escambia175331
Clarke138017
Chambers137047
Pike135514
Tallapoosa135387
Marion110331
Barbour10459
Marengo103522
Butler101541
Winston94313
Geneva9357
Lawrence87733
Pickens87418
Bibb85615
Randolph84316
Hale78030
Cherokee76114
Clay75812
Washington75412
Henry7286
Lowndes71728
Monroe66010
Bullock65017
Crenshaw61130
Perry5966
Fayette59413
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Sumter47721
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Greene34616
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