ABC News has just reported that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is planning to leave his position in the Department of Justice in the next few weeks.
Multiple sources familiar with Rosenstein’s plans told ABC News that the Deputy Attorney General has already told President Trump and other White House officials that he will leave the administration soon after William Barr, Trump‘s nominee for attorney general, takes office following his confirmation by the U.S. Senate.
According to ABC, Rosenstein wants to make sure that the transition to his successor goes smoothly and will meet the needs of Barr after he is confirmed.
Rosenstein reportedly had been thinking he would serve in his current position for only two years, and he is not being forced out of office by Trump.
After Attorney General Jeff Sessions was terminated and left office there was speculation that Rosenstein would soon leave also. But he has stayed at his post even as Matt Whitaker has served as acting Attorney General since late November.
Rosenstein has overseen special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation for more than a year, after Sessions had recused from the probe because of his role in Trump‘s campaign for president.
Like other senior officials within the Department of Justice, Rosenstein has been a target of Trump‘s on Twitter. He has blamed him for carrying on the Mueller probe as a witch hunt and has posted an an image of Rosenstein and others behind bars.
After Trump fired James Comey as FBI Director in May of 2017, Rosenstein appointed Mueller to take over the FBI investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election. Mueller has also been investigating connections ties between Russian government operatives and Trump campaign officials and associates.
Trump has repeatedly blasted Rosenstein for that decision, leading to speculation that the president would attempt to get rid of his nemesis. Their relationship further deteriorated in September after reports surfaced saying that, during a meeting after Comey‘s firing, Rosenstein raised the possibility of secretly recording the president at the White House.
Throughout Rosenstein‘s long career in the Justice Department he has served under both Republican and Democratic presidents. Many people within the Justice Department see him as a person who has always made decisions based on protecting the legacy of the Department.
Rosenstein‘s leaving raising many questions about the current and future status of Robert Mueller‘s investigation. It may indicate that the special counsel is close to finishing his work and will issue his final report of his findings very soon.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.