Rosenstein Reportedly to Leave Administration Soon

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Pierre Thomas, Jonathan Karl, John Santucci, and Mike Levine at ABC News: Rosenstein Expected to Depart DOJ in Coming Weeks If New Attorney General Confirmed.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is expected to leave his role in the coming weeks, multiple sources familiar with his plans told ABC News.

Rosenstein has communicated to [Donald] Trump and White House officials his plan to depart the administration around the time William Barr, Trump's nominee for attorney general, would take office following a Senate confirmation.

Sources told ABC News Rosenstein wants to ensure a smooth transition to his successor and would accommodate the needs of Barr, should he be confirmed.

Rosenstein apparently had long been thinking he would serve about two years, and there was no indication that he was being forced out at this moment by the president.
"At this moment" is doing a lot of work there, considering that Rosenstein has been the target of Trump's ire since virtually the moment he assumed oversight of the special counsel's investigation, after former Attorney General Jeff Sessions was obliged to recuse himself.

Trump may not be actively trying to push Rosenstein out the door in this particular moment, what with being distracted by shutting down the government over funding for a monument to his white supremacy, but I don't expect that Rosenstein feels especially welcome within the administration at this point.

That said, given that Rosenstein has long faced Trump's hostility and has repeatedly said he won't be intimidated by it, I find it curious that he's leaving now, especially if he's not being forced out the door. The acting AG, Matthew Whitaker, and the nominated AG, Bill Barr, have both been blunt about their feelings that Bob Mueller's investigation has overreached and about their intentions to leverage their positions to protect the president.

Rosenstein has always been a perplexing figure to me. I'm not sure what motivates him, and I'm not sure why he's reportedly chosen to leave now or why he's made it contingent on Barr's confirmation.

But I don't think this is a good sign, or even a neutral one.

Soon, there will be no one left in the highest levels of the Justice Department who has any interest in holding the president accountable for anything.

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