Rod Rosenstein Reportedly Stepping Down as Deputy Attorney General

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is expected to leave the Justice Department in the coming weeks, according to multiple reports. Rosenstein has spent most of his time in his current position overseeing Special Counsel Robert Mueller‘s Russia investigation.

Rosenstein’s departure is reportedly being timed for him to leave after the confirmation hearings for new Attorney General nominee William Barr. Once Barr is in office, he would take over as the one overseeing Mueller. Rosenstein only had that role because former Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself due to his personal ties to the Trump campaign. Sessions resigned in late 2018 after taking much public abuse from President Donald Trump over his decision to stay away from the Russia investigation.

Barr’s confirmation hearing is expected to begin on January 15. With Republicans strengthening their control over the Senate after November’s mid-term elections, his confirmation would appear to be a given. There has been no report on exactly when Rosenstein would leave, just that it is expected to happen in the coming weeks. With Barr returning to the post he once held under President George H.W. Bush, it stands to reason that he would want his own Deputy AG, as is common.

Rumors of Rosenstein’s departure had swirled for months due to controversy over the Mueller investigation and President Trump’s complaints over the probe, which he often calls a “witch hunt.” Supporters of the investigation feared that Trump would fire Rosenstein and appoint a replacement who would then fire Mueller. With Barr taking over, this would become a moot point, as the new Attorney General would then have that power.

[Image via Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

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