Rosenstein Ready to Leave Once Attorney General Confirmed, Source Says
- Author: Sonia Alvarado Jan 10, 2019,
Jan 10, 2019, 0:55
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein plans to leave his role once President Trump's nominee for attorney general is confirmed by the Senate, ABC News reported. That claim came from Andrew McCabe, who served as deputy director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation at the time the May 2017 conversation allegedly took place.
Mr Rosenstein appointed Mr Mueller to the role of special counsel in May 2017 to investigate any collusion between Mr Trump's 2016 campaign and Russian Federation after Jeff Sessions, the then attorney general, recused himself from the probe. Lindsey Graham said after meeting with Barr, who led the Justice Department under President George H.W. Bush, that Barr has a "high opinion" of Mueller.
When exactly Rosenstein leaves could shift depending on the timing of Barr's confirmation and the naming of a new deputy attorney general. It is common for new attorneys general to select their own deputies and Barr has told people close to him that he wanted his own No. 2.
Graham listed a number of questions that he had put to Barr: 'I asked Mr. Barr directly, 'Do you think Mr. Mueller is on a witch hunt?' He said no.
After ousting Sessions, Trump installed Whitaker, chief of staff at the Justice Department, as acting attorney general, which put him in charge of the Russian Federation probe.
Rosenstein told President Trump and White House officials that if William Barr is confirmed, he'll leave soon after, according to multiple sources familiar with his plans.
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On Wednesday, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders issued remarks about the reports of Rosenstein's purported departure. "My guess is that he is making room for the new attorney general to build a team that he wants around him", Sanders said.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) told reporters that Barr talked to him about his relationship with Mueller, including the fact that their wives are in a Bible study group together and Mueller has attended two of Barr's daughters' weddings. The Mueller investigation into alleged Russian interference in the November 2016 election has been going on for nearly two years.
After Trump fired then-FBI director James Comey in May 2017, legal experts suggested Mueller was pursuing an obstruction of justice case against the president.
It is unclear how Barr's criticisms will come into play during his Senate confirmation hearing.
All along, Mueller's investigation has continued, but it isn't clear to anyone outside a handful of select leaders how much longer it may run or with what effect - and consequently, what kind of effect the transition from Rosenstein to Barr might have.
It also said that Rosenstein has notified President Donald Trump of his intentions. "He has no reason for Mr. Mueller to stop doing his job and is committed to letting Mr. Mueller finish his work", Graham said.