President Donald Trump will nominate Jeffrey Rosen, currently the deputy secretary of the Transportation Department, as the new deputy attorney general, the White House said in a statement Tuesday evening.
If confirmed by the Senate, Rosen would replace Rod Rosenstein and serve alongside the president’s newly confirmed attorney general, William Barr. Rosen, 60, has a long tenure as a litigator and previously served in the White House Office of Management and Budget under President George W. Bush.
“Jeffrey Rosen is a distinguished lawyer who has served at the highest levels of government and the private sector,” Barr said in a statement Tuesday evening. “His years of outstanding legal and management experience make him an excellent choice to succeed Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who has served the Department of Justice over many years with dedication and distinction.”
Multiple sources reported Monday that Rosenstein had planned to leave the Justice Department in mid-March, following a long tenure in which he often served as a social media punching bag for Trump. Rosenstein appointed special counsel Robert Mueller in 2017 to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign after former Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself on the matter, a move that has prompted nonstop rage from the president.
Sources told The New York Times that Rosenstein’s departure was unrelated to Mueller’s investigation, which is expected to wrap up in the coming months.
Barr was confirmed last Thursday in a 54-45 Senate vote, mostly along party lines. He will now oversee Mueller’s team but has already found himself in the difficult spot of leading an agency that often provokes the president’s ire.
Trump hailed Barr’s appointment last week, saying he wished Barr “great luck and speed.” But he quickly took to Twitter to lambaste the Justice Department and launch claims that the Russia investigation was a “totally conflicted, illegal and rigged” witch hunt. He also lashed out at reports that Rosenstein had suggested wearing a wire in meetings with Trump. Andrew McCabe, the former acting director of the FBI, confirmed that claim last week and also said Justice Department officials had conversations about the possibility that Cabinet members could come together to invoke the 25th Amendment and remove Trump from office.
Rosenstein has disputed McCabe’s account, and other officials in the room at the time said the remark about the wire was sarcastic, according to the Times. McCabe is also currently on tour promoting his new book about his tenure at the FBI and his firing by the president just days before he was set to retire.
The Washington Post noted Tuesday that Barr demanded he be able to name his own deputy to take the job. He and Rosen both worked at the law firm of Kirkland & Ellis.
While Barr will be the main official overseeing Mueller’s probe, Rosen will likely have a role in the investigation as well. Reuters notes that the DOJ’s national security and law enforcement divisions report directly to the deputy attorney general’s office.