US Official Overseeing Mueller Probe to Leave

US Official Overseeing Mueller Probe to Leave

Deputy US Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who appointed Special Counsel Robert Mueller and remains his most visible Justice Department protector, is expected to leave his position soon after William Barr is confirmed as attorney general, an individual familiar with the plans said on Wednesday.

Other Democrats on the panel may call for Barr to recuse himself outright from the Russian Federation investigation, the way then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions did.

Rosenstein will stay on to ensure a smooth transition with Barr, an official told Reuters news agency, adding that he saw his job as deputy as a two-year stint and is not being forced out.

The newspaper also reported that he suggested secretly recording Mr Trump to expose White House turmoil and dysfunction. Lindsey Graham said after meeting with Barr, who led the Justice Department under President George H.W. Bush, that Barr has a "high opinion" of Mueller.

After the report broke, Trump promised to get rid of a "lingering stench" at the Justice Department, but weeks later stated that he had a "very good relationship" with Rosenstein, and had "no plans" to give the Deputy AG his marching orders.

Barr's confirmation as attorney general ― a position now occupied on an acting basis by Matthew Whitaker following the forced resignation of Jeff Sessions ― would ensure a smooth transition, the person said.

"Barr must commit to supporting special counsel Mueller's investigation and allowing him to follow the facts", said Sen.

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On Wednesday, ABC News and CNN reported that Rosenstein told President Donald Trump that he intends to leave the department after attorney general nominee William Barr is confirmed.

The expected departure of Rosenstein, who had previously enjoyed bipartisan support and was kept in his role as Maryland's top federal prosecutor during the Obama administration, has heightened Democratic concerns ahead of the Barr hearing. "My guess is that he is making room for the new attorney general to build a team that he wants around him", Sanders said.

Barr has told people close to him that he wanted his own No. 2. Rosenstein has managed the investigation since it began in May 2017.

After an embattled turn in that role, Sessions stepped down at the end of a year ago and was replaced temporarily by Matthew Whitaker as Acting Attorney General.

Rosenstein has had oversight of the U.S. Special Counsel's probe into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and possible connections to Trump's campaign.

At a news conference in December, Rosenstein said that Mueller's investigation would be "handled appropriately" no matter who is overseeing it. He said no. And do you see any reason for Mr. Mueller's investigation to be stopped.

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