Following a series of conflicting signals earlier on Wednesday – when the BBC published then deleted a story – the Financial Times has apparently confirmed that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, the top DOJ official tasked with overseeing the Mueller probe, is planning to resign as soon as next week.
The controversial deputy – one of Trump’s favorite targets for criticism particularly since he appointed Special Counsel Robert Mueller to take over an investigation into suspicions of collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign – reportedly planning to leave after Trump’s AG pick, William Barr, is confirmed by the Senate – a confirmation that, thanks to the Republican majority – is extremely likely
Rod Rosenstein, the US deputy attorney-general, is expected to leave the Department of Justice in the coming weeks, according to a person familiar with the matter.
His departure is expected to follow the confirmation of William Barr, Donald Trump’s pick for attorney-general, according to the person, who said Mr Rosenstein wanted “to ensure a smooth transition” for the incoming head of the justice department.
A justice department spokesperson declined to comment. News of Mr Rosenstein’s exit was reported earlier by ABC News.
The deputy attorney-general had overseen the Russia investigation led by Robert Mueller, the special counsel. Mr Barr will take responsibility for the probe if he is confirmed following his Senate confirmation hearings next week.
The person familiar with the matter said Mr Rosenstein was not being pushed out and that he had long viewed the role as a two-year job. He was confirmed to the position in April 2017.
Rosenstein reportedly came close to resigning back in September following reports that he tried to organize an internal mutiny against Trump, even going so far as to urge cabinet members to secretly record their conversations with the president. These reports were later disputed, and Rosenstein and Trump appeared to reconcile after a meeting. Before that, Trump repeatedly toyed with firing Rosenstein, though he reportedly opted to keep him on each time.
According to the Washington Post, confirmation hearings for Barr are slated for Jan. 15 and 16.