Rod Rosenstein Resignation Plan Puts New Pressure On William Barr Confirmation

Rod Rosenstein expected to depart Justice Department in coming weeks following Barr confirmation

When asked about the report, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told Fox News that the president was not trying to force Rosenstein to quit, though she refused to either confirm or deny that the deputy attorney general intends to leave.

If confirmed, Barr would then oversee the special counsel's Russian Federation investigation.

Top justice department official Rod Rosenstein, who oversaw the inquiry into alleged Russian meddling in 2016, is planning to quit, USA media reports.

In his time in charge of Mueller's years-long investigation, Rosenstein has been criticized by some Republicans for authorizing the surveillance of former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, and for failing to appoint a second special counsel to probe his own department's handling of the Russian Federation investigation.

Rosenstein, whose job security has been in doubt ever since he appointed Robert Mueller as special counsel, is going to step down in the coming weeks, it was reported earlier Wednesday. Also, Rosenstein told senators during his 2017 confirmation hearing that he would not remain in his post if he believed that he was being pressured to influence any investigations.

In September the New York Times reported, citing anonymous sources, that Mr Rosenstein had discussed recruiting cabinet members to invoke the 25th amendment of the U.S. constitution, which provides for the removal of a president if he is deemed unfit for office.

Rosenstein reportedly planned to stay for two years anyway, and there is no indication that Trump is forcing him out of the administration, ABC reported.

More news: Huawei 'cuts employees pay' after they tweet from iPhone

But after Mr Session was ousted in November, his replacement Matthew Whitaker took over the investigation, refusing to recuse himself despite his previous public criticism of the probe. Barr will assume oversight of the probe once confirmed as AG.

However, Graham said after meeting with Barr Wednesday that he was not concerned that Barr would interfere with the Mueller investigation. He has long overseen the investigation and has frequently drawn Trump's ire.

Rosenstein considered resigning in September after reports surfaced he discussed wearing a "wire" to secretly record conversations with Trump in the Oval Office past year and discussed the possibility of Cabinet officials invoking the 25 Amendment to remove the president.

A US Department of Justice official later told the BBC that someone "who was in the room" and heard Mr Rosenstein's secret recording suggestion had considered it to be a joke.

Rosenstein became a frequent target of Trump's ire on Twitter - with the president recently re-posting an image of him and other officials behind bars.

"Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is out - oh wait, he isn't, but he might be soon".

"I can assure you he has a very high opinion of Mr. Mueller and he is committed to letting Mr. Mueller finish his job", Graham said. Barr wrote a memo in June critical of Mueller's potential investigation into obstruction of justice by Mr. Trump in firing former FBI Director James Comey.

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