Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is expected to resign as soon as William Barr, Trump’s nominee for Attorney General is confirmed. Rosenstein’s office has been in charge of overseeing the Mueller investigation into possible collusion with Russia. However, a source familiar to the matter noted that Rosenstein is not being forced out in any way. It’s simply a personal decision. The deputy attorney general has also conveyed his thinking to the White House. The move is seen by many analysts as the clearest sign yet that Robert Mueller could be on the final stages of his investigation.
Rod Rosenstein has been in the public eye for the last two years in part because of his management of the Mueller probe. Sources close to him say that the Deputy Attorney General has lately felt the need to leave his position at the Justice Department but has maintained that he will only do so when the Mueller probe comes to an end or when he feels the investigation is getting closer to its final stages. However, it’s not clear when Rosenstein will leave. This will all depend on how smoothly the confirmation of William Barr will go. In addition to this, the president will also need to name a Deputy Attorney General before Rosenstein leaves. Sources close to the matter say that the 53-year-old wants to guarantee a smooth transition and he will stay put until there’s someone to take over his duties.
Barr’s Senate confirmation is scheduled to start on January, 15th. Based on these timelines, it’s very likely that a confirmation vote won’t happen until mid-February. Some news outlets are also reporting that Barr made it clear to the White House before he was nominated to lead the Justice Department that he wanted his own deputy. Speaking to reporters at the White House, press secretary Sarah Sanders said that she had not talked to the president about Rosenstein’s thinking but maintained that the deputy AG was doing a great job so far.
There are reports that indicate that Barr, if confirmed, will personally oversee the Russia probe. But it’s not clear whether there will be too much to oversee at the moment. The investigation has been going on for two years now and there’s no doubt that a big part of it is now completed. It’s very likely that by the time Barr is confirmed, the probe will already be over or nearing its conclusion.
Rosenstein was the person responsible for the appointment of the special counsel back in 2017. His office was dragged into the matter after the former Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the investigation. The move didn’t sit well with the president. Sessions faced constant attacks from Trump and many believe that this is the reason why he left shortly after the midterms. Rosenstein hasn’t been spared either. President Trump has threatened a few times to fire him but he has never followed through. At one point, reports emerged that Rosenstein discussed wearing a wire to record conversations with the President as well as invoking the 25th Amendment. He denied all these allegations.