WASHINGTON — Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein plans to vacate his position in the next few weeks, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders confirmed Wednesday.
During a morning gaggle with reporters, Sanders confirmed an ABC News report about Rosenstein’s impending departure. She told Fox News that it’s not uncommon for a deputy attorney to leave after two years and when a new attorney general comes on board.
Rosenstein’s decision to step down is voluntary, according to ABC.
Rosenstein has planned his departure to take place roughly around the same time attorney general nominee William Barr is expected to take the helm at the Department of Justice, according to ABC. Barr’s confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled for next week.
President Donald Trump fired then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions in November. Sessions was replaced by Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, who had served as Sessions’ chief of staff.
In March 2017, Sessions recused himself from DoJ’s investigation into potential collusion between members of the Trump campaign and Russian officials. Rosenstein was tasked with overseeing the investigation following Sessions’ recusal.
Rosenstein’s appointment of Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III provoked the ire of Trump, who has adamantly denied allegations of collusion. The appointment also drew ire from many of the president’s closest allies in Congress.
House Republicans often grilled Rosenstein during testimony on Capitol Hill. They consistently argued that the FBI and the DoJ exhibited bias against Trump in the Russia probe and that preferential treatment was given to Hillary Clinton during the investigation into her use of a private email server.
Prior to assuming the No. 2 post at DoJ, Rosenstein served 12 years as the United States attorney for the District of Maryland. During that time he earned as a reputation as a fierce prosecutor who targeted gang violence and political corruption.