Mar 22, 2018

John Dowd resigns as Trump's personal lawyer

Photo: Kevin Dietsch, Pool / Getty Images

President Trump's personal lawyer John Dowd has resigned as the head of the president's legal team for Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, per the NYT. A White House official confirmed the report to Axios.

The backdrop: Dowd spent last weekend personally attacking Mueller — going so far as to encourage an end to his investigation. He later told Axios' Mike Allen that his statement was "nothing against Bob," adding, "On St. Patrick's Day, can't an old Marine make a prayer? No big deal." After the news broke of his resignation, Dowd told NBC's Kristin Welker, "I love the president and wish him very well."

Trump, 11 days ago...

From NYT...

  • "Ty Cobb, the White House lawyer for the investigation, came aboard around the same time as Mr. Dowd and Mr. Sekulow and advocated on behalf of cooperating with the special counsel."
  • "But the president has discussed with close associates in recent days whether to fire Mr. Cobb, while reassuring Mr. Cobb that he had no plans to do so."

Go deeper

Coronavirus updates: WHO raises global threat level to "very high"

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The World Health Organization raised its global risk assessment for the novel coronavirus to "very high" Friday, its highest risk level as countries struggle with containing spread of the virus. Meanwhile, National Economic Council director Larry Kudlow this morning tried to reassure the markets, which continued to correct bringing growing fears of a U.S. recession.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed more than 2,860 people and infected about 83,800 others in almost 60 countries and territories outside the epicenter in mainland China. The number of new cases reported outside China now exceed those inside the country.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 40 mins ago - Health

Bernie's plan to hike taxes on some startup employees

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Sens. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) introduced legislation that would tax nonqualified stock options at vesting, rather than at exercise, for employees making at least $130,000 per year.

The big picture: Select employees at private companies would be taxed on monies that they hadn't yet banked.

Judge rules against Trump policy limiting public comment on energy leasing

Photo: Joe Amon/The Denver Post via Getty Images

A federal judge on Thursday overturned a 2018 Trump administration directive that sought to speed up energy leases on public land by limiting the amount of time the public could comment.

Why it matters: U.S. Chief Magistrate Judge Ronald Bush's decision voids almost a million acres of leases in the West, according to The Washington Post. It's a victory for environmentalists, who tried to block the change as part of an effort to protect the habitat of the at-risk greater sage grouse.

  • The ruling invalidated five oil and gas leases in Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming, and affected 104,688 square miles of greater sage-grouse habitat, per The Associated Press.
  • Leases in greater sage-grouse habitat will return to allowing 30 days of public comment and administrative protest.

The big picture: From Axios' Amy Harder, this is the latest in a long and convoluted list of regulatory rollbacks the Trump administration is pursuing on environmental rules that courts are, more often than not, rebutting. With Congress gridlocked on these matters, expect the courts to be the default way Trump's agenda faces checks (unless, of course, a Democrat wins the White House this November).