Rod Rosenstein set to leave U.S. Justice Department

US Official Overseeing Mueller Probe to Leave - Reports

Rod Rosenstein Expected To Depart From White House Once New Attorney General Is Appointed: Reports

Mr Rosenstein has overseen special counsel Robert Mueller's Russian Federation investigation, a role which has repeatedly drawn the ire of Donald Trump, who has labelled the probe a "witch hunt".

"It's being handled appropriately", Rosenstein told reporters last month.

Sanders said there's no willingness by the White House to force out Rosenstein, who she said has "a great deal of respect" for Barr, adding that they have a "great relationship".

In May 2017, shortly after the president dumped Federal Bureau of Investigation chief James Comey, Rosenstein appointed Mueller to take over the Federal Bureau of Investigation probe of Russia's meddling in the 2016 election and possible ties between Russians and Trump associates.

While an aggressive push by grassroots organizations and congressional lawmakers was made to ensure Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosentein was not improperly removed or forced out of his position at the U.S. Justice Department, multiple media outlets reported Wednesday morning that he has indicated to the White House his intention to leave within the coming weeks.

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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.

According to Fox News and ABC News, Mr Rosenstein had long planned to leave after two years as deputy attorney general. However, Rosenstein has continued to be the main Justice Department official to interact with Mueller and receive updates on the investigation. "My guess is he is making room for the new attorney general to build a team that he wants around him".

He then handed off oversight to his deputy, putting Mr Rosenstein in the spotlight and leading to criticism from Republicans in Congress as well as Mr Trump.

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.

Have Trump and Rosenstein feuded?

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In October, speculation mounted that Trump would fire Rosenstein, after a salacious New York Times op-ed by a supposed Trump cabinet "insider" claimed that Rosenstein had suggested wearing a wire to secretly record the president to prove he was unfit for office.

Mr Rosenstein denied the report, which he said was "based on anonymous sources who are obviously biased against the department".

In November, Mr Trump retweeted an image of Mr Rosenstein behind prison bars. Russian Federation has also denied any interference in the election. But Democrats will use the hearing as an opportunity to extract commitments from the nominee about his approach to the Mueller investigation.

However Mr Rosenstein was stripped of the role late previous year when Mr Sessions was forced out by the president.

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