Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein to
step down in March: official
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[February 19, 2019]
By Sarah N. Lynch
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Rod Rosenstein, the
U.S. deputy attorney general who appointed a special counsel to
investigate possible ties between Russia and President Donald Trump's
campaign, is expected to step down by mid March, a Justice Department
official said on Monday.
Rosenstein had been expected to depart shortly after new Attorney
General William Barr assumed office. Barr was confirmed for the role by
the U.S. Senate last week.
The Justice official said Rosenstein's departure was not related to
renewed allegations that he considered wearing a wire in meetings with
Trump and using the 25th amendment of the U.S. Constitution to remove
the president from office.
Rosenstein, the No. 2 official at the Justice Department, in May 2017
named Special Counsel Robert Mueller to investigate ties between Trump's
2016 presidential election campaign and Moscow. The investigation
A registered Republican, Rosenstein made the decision because his
then-boss, former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, a Trump supporter
during the 2016 campaign, had recused himself from the issue.
Last September, the New York Times reported Rosenstein in 2017 had
suggested secretly recording Trump and recruiting Cabinet members to
oust the president using the provisions of the Constitution's 25th
In an interview broadcast on Sunday with CBS News "60 Minutes," former
acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe confirmed the Times account that
Rosenstein considered wearing a wire in meetings with Trump.
Rosenstein said both the Times story and McCabe's account were
"inaccurate and factually incorrect," which a Justice Department
spokeswoman reiterated after the "60 Minutes" interview.
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U.S. Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein attends the Los
Angeles Crimefighters Leadership Conference in Los Angeles,
California, U.S., February 7, 2019. REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo
Earlier on Monday Trump accused both McCabe and Rosenstein of
planning a "very illegal act," which he described in a tweet as
"illegal and treasonous."
Rosenstein ceased overseeing Mueller's probe on Nov. 7 when Trump
named Matt Whittaker acting attorney general.
Barr now has oversight of the investigation.
Rosenstein had attracted far more attention than is typical for the
No. 2 Justice Department official because of his decision to appoint
Mueller to lead the investigation eight days after Trump fired James
Comey as director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Trump has frequently and publicly seethed about the Mueller probe,
the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Justice Department,
which oversees them both.
The president has denied any collusion and Russia says there was no
election meddling, despite findings to the contrary by U.S.
Mueller's investigation, which the president has repeatedly called a
"witch hunt," has so far netted 34 individuals and three companies
who have pleaded guilty, been indicted or been otherwise swept up in
(Additional reporting by Jeff Mason and David Brunnstrom; Editing by
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