Rosenstein Will Stay Put Until Mueller Submits Report

Geneva Stokes
January 10, 2019

Barr, whose confirmation hearing begins on January 15, has come under fire from Senate Democrats who claim that his past comments criticizing the Mueller probe are disqualifying.

Rosenstein began overseeing special counsel Robert Mueller's probe into whether Russian Federation meddled in the 2016 presidential election when then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself in the matter over his role in Trump's presidential campaign.

Rosenstein has stayed on under Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker, whose controversial appointment has sparked numerous legal challenges and raised questions about what role he would play regarding the investigation.

The White House is casting the expected departure of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in coming weeks as Rosenstein's choice alone. Also, Rosenstein told senators during his 2017 confirmation hearing that he would not remain in his post if he believed that he was being pressured to influence any investigations.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told Fox News on Wednesday that she knew "the deputy attorney general has always planned to roughly stay around two years". "My guess is he is making room for the new attorney general to build a team that he wants around him".

Barr will also "air on the side of transparency" in providing Mueller's final Russian Federation report to Congress and the public, Graham told reporters after a meeting with Barr. He has long overseen the investigation and has frequently drawn Trump's ire.

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However Mr Rosenstein was stripped of the role late a year ago when Mr Sessions was forced out by the president. "Mueller is most conflicted of all (except Rosenstein who signed FISA & Comey letter)".

But Rosenstein's anticipated departure may come before the penultimate step in the Trump-Russia probe: the decision on whether to make that report public or turn it over to Congress. Barr, Graham said, told him he didn't think Mueller was on a "witch hunt", as Trump has branded the Mueller probe.

The expected departure of Rosenstein, who had previously enjoyed bipartisan support and was kept in his role as Maryland's top federal prosecutor during the Obama administration, has heightened Democratic concerns ahead of the Barr hearing. Barr and Mueller worked together when Barr was Bush's attorney general between 1991 and 1993 and Mueller oversaw the department's criminal division.

In November, Mr Trump retweeted an image of Mr Rosenstein behind prison bars.

He has accused the investigation of being led by "Democrat loyalists".

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