Rod Rosenstein set to leave U.S. Justice Department

Rod Rosenstein set to leave U.S. Justice Department

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosentein is expected to leave the Justice Department in the coming weeks - shortly after William Barr, President Trump's nominee for AG, is confirmed, according to a report.

The deputy attorney general - who has been overseeing the Russian Federation probe since Jeff Sessions recused himself - reportedly always planned to only serve about two years in the administration and there's "no indication that he was being forced out" by Trump, in ABC's words.

That's according to a person familiar with the plans who wasn't authorized to discuss them publicly and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

Trump has nominated Barr to replace Sessions, but he has not yet been confirmed by the U.S. Senate. Speculation has swirled for months and months that Trump would fire Rosenstein, who has overseen the special counsel's Russian Federation investigation since Robert Mueller's appointment on May 17, 2017.

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

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Rosenstein will stay on to ensure smooth transition with Barr, the official said, adding that he has seen his job as deputy as a two-year stint and is not being forced out.

"Certainly, I don't think there's any willingness by the president or the White House to push him out", Sanders told Fox News in an interview. "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 is expected to face questioning from Democrats about his views of the Mueller investigation at next week's hearing.

ABC News was the first to report on Rosenstein's departure.

Rosenstein, who was nominated to the post in February 2017 and had apparently thought of serving for about two years, and wants to ensure a smooth transition, several sources familiar with his plans told ABC News on Wednesday.

It is unclear how long after Barr's appointment Rosenstein is expected to remain within the DOJ.

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