According to a report from NBC News, which was based on sources allegedly from within the Trump administration who wished to remain anonymous, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein plans to tender his resignation as soon as Special Counsel Robert Mueller wraps up his probe into alleged collusion between the 2016 Trump campaign team and Russian operatives.
It was Rosenstein who first appointed Mueller to his current role in May 2017.
Legal “experts” have guesstimated that Mueller could wrap up his work as early as mid-February and his final report just weeks later.
This has some pundits speculating that Rosenstein could depart the Trump administration as soon as early March.
But other anonymous sources in the administration — said to be “familiar with [Rosenstein’s] thinking” — told NBC that the deputy AG could make his exit as soon as Jeff Sessions’ recently nominated replacement, William Barr, is confirmed to the attorney general role by the Senate.
Barr has spent recent days meeting with key senators and is set to begin the confirmation process on Jan. 15.
A planned departure
NBC reported that their sources made it clear that Rosenstein is not being fired or forced out of the Trump administration, but instead had always planned to leave after serving two years as the second-in-command at the Justice Department — a sentiment White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders appeared to confirm on Fox News on Wednesday.
“I know the deputy attorney general has always planned to roughly stay around two years,” Sanders said. “My guess is that he is making room for the new attorney general to build a team that he wants around him.”
Questionable track record
NBC also reported — again, via anonymous sources — that Rosenstein nearly resigned several months ago when reports first emerged alleging that he had once talked with other administration officials about wearing a wire when speaking with President Donald Trump, which was ostensibly part of a plot to obtain evidence that could be used to remove the president from office via the 25th Amendment.
That proposition always seemed rather absurd, though, and Rosenstein and others have said that the remark about wearing a wire was a joke that has been taken out of context for partisan purposes.
Furthermore, for all of the media talk about Rosenstein’s imminent exit — and despite a few negative tweets from the president — Rosenstein has remained on the job, and the president has also congratulated him by name on multiple occasions as well.
At the end of the day, maybe the media doesn’t really know what is happening at all.