Deputy US Attorney General Rosenstein expected to resign in weeks

ABC News, citing multiple sources familiar with Rosenstein's plans, reported that he meant to leave in the coming weeks as Barr transitioned into the job.

Ahead of Barr's Senate confirmation hearing next week, top Justice Department officials have sought to downplay his previous argument that the president can't be investigated for obstructing justice.

Rosenstein has been overseeing Special Counsel Robert Mueller's ongoing "Russiagate" investigation since former Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the role in March 2017. Rosenstein has said the memo had no impact on the department's work.

ABC News reported there was no indication Rosenstein was being forced to step down.

"I haven't spoken to the deputy attorney general myself, so I'll leave any announcements for him or the President to make when they want to do that, but certainly I don't think there's any willingness by the President or the White House to push him out", she continued.

Barr wrote a memo in June critical of Mueller's potential investigation into obstruction of justice by Mr. Trump in firing former FBI Director James Comey.

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The White House cast Rosenstein's departure as his choice. "My guess is that he is making room for the new attorney general to build a team that he wants around him". Matt Whitaker, the acting attorney general, is now tasked with overseeing the investigation but Mr Rosenstein's office still manages its day-to-day business.

Graham said Barr told him about his longtime relationship with Mueller.

Mr Trump has repeatedly railed against the special counsel's probe into claims that Russian Federation sought to influence the election in Mr Trump's favour. The appointment followed the recusal of Sessions because of his work on the Trump campaign and Trump's firing of former Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey.

Barr has criticized the Mueller investigation in the past, including an unsolicited memo he sent the Justice Department a year ago critiquing Mueller's investigation into whether the president had sought to obstruct justice by firing Comey. He said Barr would be an "excellent attorney general when he is confirmed".

It is unclear how long after Barr's appointment Rosenstein is expected to remain within the DOJ. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., the ranking member of the Judiciary Committee, when Barr's nomination was announced.

Rosenstein was said to have discussed removing Trump from office or secretly recording conversations with him; he said he never authorized any action after those conversations but Justice Department sources said he expected to be fired.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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