WASHINGTON — Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general who has been overseeing the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, is expected to leave after William Barr is confirmed as the next attorney general, CNN and other outlets reported on Wednesday.
CBS News reported that while Rosenstein was planning to resign, there was no exact timeline for his departure and that he would stay on in a transition period after Barr is confirmed.
Rosenstein has been a familiar face to viewers as he has occasionally had press conferences to announce the latest developments in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. But he also has been a target of President Donald Trump, who last year tweeted out a picture of Rosenstein behind bars. In a tweet last month, Trump questioned whether Rosenstein was “totally conflicted” because he signed a FISA warrant for the surveillance of Trump campaign foreign policy adviser Carter Page.
In fact, Rosenstein signed the third extension of the FISA application in June of 2017. The warrant also had to be approved by a judge. Nevertheless, House Republicans in the Freedom Caucus targeted Rosenstein, who was nominated by Trump and confirmed by the Senate.
The Senate’s confirmation hearings for Barr are scheduled to begin on Jan. 15. Barr, who served as attorney general under President George H.W. Bush, has been critical of aspects of Mueller’s investigation and expressed doubts that Trump obstructed justice in his interactions with FBI Director James Comey, who the president fired.
Democrats likely will query Barr on his opinion of Mueller’s probe and how it will be handled after Rosenstein’s departure.