Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein likely to step down in 3 weeks

Rosenstein, who had been overseeing special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, said in January he would leave shortly a new attorney general was in place.
Image: Rod Rosenstein
U.S. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein addresses the 66th annual Attorney General's Awards Ceremony at the Daughters of the American Revolution Constitution Hall in Washington on Oct. 24, 2018.Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images file

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By Pete Williams and Doha Madani

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein will likely be stepping down from his position in about three weeks, according to Justice Department officials.

That word comes just days after William Barr was confirmed as the new attorney general by the Senate.

Rosenstein, who has been overseeing special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, said in January that he would leave shortly after the arrival of a new attorney general but that he would stay long enough to ensure an orderly transition.

Justice Department officials said Rosenstein’s departure had no connection to recent comments by former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, who has just published a book, “The Threat: How the FBI Protects American in the Age of Terror and Trump.”

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McCabe said in an interview on “60 Minutes” on Sunday that Rosenstein considered wearing a wire in meetings with the president.

The Justice Department disputed this and other assertions by McCabe, calling his recollections "inaccurate and factually incorrect."

Rosenstein had been overseeing the Mueller's investigation into possible Trump campaign collusion with Russia and obstruction of justice after former Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself because of his role in the Trump campaign.

Even under acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker, who was appointed Nov. 7 to temporarily fill Sessions' seat, Rosenstein has continued to help supervise the special counsel's probe.

With Barr now the attorney general, he will fully take over the investigation.

Rosenstein has been a consistent defender of Mueller and the Justice Department against attacks by the president and some Republicans in Congress.

He told a Law Day conference last May that the department "is not going to be extorted," after some House Republicans raised the prospect of seeking Rosenstein's impeachment.

The attacks were a jolt for Rosenstein, who enjoyed bipartisan support for most of his three decades as a federal prosecutor. But his congressional support faltered when he wrote a memo providing a rationale for Trump's decision to fire FBI Director James Comey.