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Boom: Why Did John Dowd Resign?

Billionaire co-founder of Galleon Group Raj Rajaratnam, right, enters Manhattan federal court with his attorney John Dowd, Friday, April 29, 2011, in New York. Jury deliberations continue in the trial of Rajaratnam, who is accused of gaining $63 million from trading on illegal stock tips. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
FILE - In this April 29, 20111, file photo, Attorney John Dowd walks in New York. Down, one of the key lawyers in President Donald Trump’s corner navigated a popular United States senator through crisis, produced a... FILE - In this April 29, 20111, file photo, Attorney John Dowd walks in New York. Down, one of the key lawyers in President Donald Trump’s corner navigated a popular United States senator through crisis, produced a damning investigative report that drove a baseball star from the game and, early in his career, took on organized crime as a Justice Department prosecutor. Dowd assumed a more prominent place on the legal team after another lawyer, Marc Kasowitz, took a reduced role. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File) MORE LESS
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March 28, 2018 1:49 p.m.

The Times just dropped a story reporting that President Trump’s former lawyer John Dowd dangled the possibility of pardons before lawyers for Mike Flynn and Paul Manafort just as Mueller’s prosecutors were closing in on bringing charges against both men. Pressure to make a deal was growing. Pardons would be an enviable alternative option. The story notes that it is not at all clear there’s anything legally or constitutionally wrong with the President or his representatives offering pardons, even though the clear impact of such pardons would be to prevent those receiving the pardons from turning on the President. It’s like the President’s near-total ability to fire the FBI Director, actually even more than that power since the constitution explicitly gives the President an apparently unlimited authority to issue pardons. Could it constitute obstruction? That’s an open legal question. But the publication of this story now raises a related question. Why did Dowd resign? And did he have a choice?

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