Rod Rosenstein, deputy attorney general, reportedly leaving post

Saul Bowman
September 24, 2018

What seemed at first like a long-awaited opening to get rid of the "lingering stench" at his Justice Department now poses a quandary for President Donald Trump: Would firing Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein complicate precarious confirmation proceedings for an embattled Supreme Court nominee?

The DOJ has released a statement saying Rosenstein's comments were sarcastic, while Rosenstein has outright denied the report. He plans to step down, Axios reported.

The move is likely to be regarded as an effort by Trump to hamstring special counsel Robert Mueller, who has led the Russian Federation probe since the president sacked then-FBI director James Comey in May 2017. He was on his way to the White House. Trump was asked about Rosenstein's future in the administration during an interview on "Fox & Friends" Monday. It wasn't immediately clear what Rosenstein's departure might mean for that investigation, or who now would oversee it, though that role could naturally fall to Solicitor General Noel Francisco. This would have been in the tumultuous days after James Comey was sacked as Federal Bureau of Investigation director, with the president citing in part a memo penned by Rosenstein - reportedly catching him off guard. Trump has repeatedly attacked Sessions for that move. Other outlets have reported that the remarks were made in jest.

Rosenstein served in the Justice Department for almost three decades. Trump and his supporters argue the Justice Department has run amok with "bias" and abuse of power, which they say includes inappropriate snooping on Trump's campaign in 2016.

"If you're not, you should take this time to do something more productive", he said. Trump laid blame for the controversy at the feet of his attorney general.

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