Now that all that remains of the Robert Mueller-led special counsel investigation is mop-up work in the courts and a release of the full final report, it’s time for the Justice Department official who oversaw the probe, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, to move on.
President Donald Trump formally submitted his nomination of Jeffrey Rosen as Rosenstein’s replacement to the Senate for confirmation purposes on Tuesday.
Rosenstein replacement officially nominated
Trump’s choice for Rosenstein’s replacement was first reported in February, but has now been made official with the notification to the Senate.
Rosen previously served in the administration of former President George W. Bush and practiced law for the private firm of Kirkland & Ellis prior to accepting his current role of deputy secretary of the Transportation Department.
According to a release from the White House, Rosen’s nomination was one of seven nominations officially sent to the Senate on Tuesday for advice, consent, and confirmation.
Tenure tied to Mueller probe
Rosenstein’s departure from the DOJ was initially announced as imminent in January, but appears to have been tethered to the special counsel probe. It was pushed back to mid-March, then delayed once again a week or so ago for just “a little longer” until the investigation concluded on Friday.
Aside from being the official responsible for appointing Robert Mueller as special counsel, due to the Russia-related recusal of former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Rosenstein also oversaw the investigation up until that responsibility was handed over to current Attorney General William Barr.
However, Rosenstein worked closely with Barr on preparing the summary of Mueller’s report that was released on Sunday.
Rosenstein’s tenure as deputy attorney general has not been without controversy. Some of his actions in that role raised suspicions among the president’s supporters, such as the signing off on an extension of the dubious FISA warrant against a marginal member of the Trump campaign, Carter Page.
Republicans in Congress were none too pleased with Rosenstein’s lack of cooperation in handing over certain documents for committee investigations and his general reluctance to answer questions about ongoing probes during committee hearings.
Rosenstein also came under scrutiny after fired FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe accused the deputy attorney general of offering to wear a wire while speaking with President Trump as part of a plot to remove him from office via the 25th Amendment. Rosenstein, of course, pushed back on McCabe’s allegation.
While President Trump noted the criminality of the allegation, he notably did not fire Rosenstein, as he has done with several other officials. Earlier this month, Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC) requested various McCabe documents from the DOJ as part of a followup investigation, saying the committee was “deeply concerned.”