Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein will most likely leave his post soon, according to sources with knowledge of his plans.
The sources said that Rosenstein has told President Donald Trump and White House officials that he intended to leave the administration once the new attorney general is confirmed. Trump’s nominee, William Barr, would take office after a Senate confirmation.
For now, there is no sign that his decision was a result of anything else than his personal plan to serve in the administration for no more than two years. He is not being forced out by President Trump, although there was speculation in November that he too might depart soon after Attorney General Jeff Sessions resigned.
However, during his confirmation hearing in 2017 Rosenstein said that he would resign if he ever felt he was being inappropriately pressured to influence an investigation.
Rosenstein, who oversees the special counsel’s investigation into Russian election meddling, has often found himself in the crosshairs of Trump who calls that probe “a witch hunt.” The President has even re-posted an image of Rosenstein and others behind bars, ABC News writes.
Back in 2017, after Sessions recused himself from the Russia investigation, Rosenstein appointed Robert Mueller to take over the FBI probe into election interference and possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russians.
Trump and his Republican allies have repeatedly blasted that decision.
Rosenstein has served in senior Justice Department roles under both Republican and Democratic presidents and is largely viewed by his colleagues as a person whose decisions are always driven by the desire to protect the department’s legacy.
Rosenstein also stood in defense of Whitaker, who has publicly decried the Mueller investigation, in order to prevent any lasting damage to institutions as a result of public concerns over the Justice Department.