Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein has told the White House that he plans to leave the Justice Department, according to ABC News. This would happen around the time that Donald Trump’s attorney general nominee William Barr would take office, assuming Senate confirmation.
Rosenstein appointed Robert Mueller as special counsel to investigate any connection between Russia and the Trump presidential campaign and oversaw the work. Jeff Sessions, attorney general at the time, recused himself because of his role in the campaign.
Trump has repeatedly called the investigation a “witch hunt” and heavily criticized Rosenstein. The attacks increased after reports that Rosenstein was involved in a plan to remove the President from office using the 25th Amendment. Rosenstein denied his participation in such a plot, but Trump increased his rhetoric, in November 2018 tweeting a mocked-up image that showed Rosenstein behind bars.
Trump fired Sessions in early November, right after the 2018 midterm elections, appointing Matt Whitaker as acting attorney general. Whitaker, who had been a critic of Mueller’s work, took on oversight of the probe. Rosenstein continued his role.
Rosenstein had only wanted to serve about two years, according to ABC. Barr’s confirmation hearings are scheduled to start on January 15.