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Rosenstein Resigns as Deputy Attorney General

PHILADELPHIA, PA - FEBRUARY 21: Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein speaks at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania on February 21, 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Rosenstein's address was part of Wharton School's Legal Studies and Business Ethics Lecture Series. (Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images)
By William Vogeler, Esq. on April 30, 2019

Unlike his start as U.S. Deputy Attorney General, Rod Rosenstein is going out without a bang.

Precisely two years after he was confirmed, Rosenstein announced his resignation from a job that will forever tie him to Robert Mueller's investigation. Rosenstein selected Mueller as special counsel to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Now that the investigation is over, so is Rosenstein's career as Deputy Attorney General.

And like the Mueller report, his resignation was somewhat anti-climatic -- just the way he wanted it.


Rosenstein had been expected to step down in March, but stayed on to help with the release of the Mueller report. The 22-month investigation produced scores of indictments and convictions, but found no collusion between President Trump and the Russians. At a press conference about the report, Rosenstein showed how he worked behind the scenes. Attorney General Barr announced there was insufficient evidence to charge the president; Rosenstein said nothing at the time but put it this way in his resignation letter:

"We enforce the law without fear or favor because credible evidence is not partisan," he wrote.

As Rosenstein has moved out of the spotlight, Democrats have focused their displeasure on Barr. Rosenstein, it would seem, had perfect timing, but not a fairy-tale ending.

Without a Tweet

Rod Rosenstein joined the Justice Department in 1990, prosecuting public corruption cases as a trial attorney. He served in many leadership positions, including Counsel to the Deputy Attorney General. Prior to his appointment as Deputy Attorney General, he served 12 years as the U.S. Attorney for Maryland. In the last year at his top post, he hit a rough patch with the President over the Mueller investigation. According to the Washington Post, he told Trump then he was prepared to resign. "I'm ready to go. I can resign." he said. "But I don't want to go out with a tweet."

The President tapped Jeffrey Rosen, deputy secretary of the Transportation Department, to replace Rosenstein at the Justice Department. USA Today called him "an unusual choice to oversee the daily operations of a sprawling federal law enforcement agency" because he has never worked for the Justice Department.

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