Leaks confirmed: Rod Rosenstein is leaving the DoJ soon
The latest excuse for progressive hyperventilation is the news leaked last night to ABC News and confirmed by several other media outlets: Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein will be leaving the Department of Justice in a matter of weeks.
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 President 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.
President Trump's criticisms of Rosenstein automatically made him a hero to the left.
In May 2017, shortly after Trump fired James Comey as FBI Director, Rosenstein made the call to appoint Mueller to take over the FBI probe of Russia's meddling in the 2016 presidential election and any possible ties between Russian operatives and Trump associates.
Trump and his Republican allies have repeatedly blasted that decision. But tensions between Trump and Rosenstein came to a head in September, after reports surfaced saying that, during a meeting in the immediate aftermath of Comey's firing, Rosenstein raised the possibility of secretly recording the president at the White House.
ABC immediately covered for Rosenstein:
However, a source familiar with how Justice Department officials who attended that later meeting viewed what happened, said they believed Rosenstein was being "sarcastic" – noting that there was never any follow-up conversation from Rosenstein or anyone else about it.
Rosenstein was the U.S. attorney in Baltimore when the Uranium One whistleblower resulted in a federal investigation into the sale of one quarter of our uranium resources to a Russian entity, accompanied by six-figure donations from principals in the sale to the Clinton Foundation, in the wake of secretary of state Clinton approving the sale. Scandalously, that prosecution resulted in a plea bargain for one minor official and no effort to pursue higher-ups.
Rosenstein's official portrait as U.S. attorney in Baltimore.
It is unclear who leaked the news, and why the timing came within hours of the disastrous Democratic response to President Trump's Oval Office address, and less than a week before confirmation hearings for A.G.-designate William Barr are set to begin. It certainly functions as a shiny object to distract media attention from an embarrassment for the Democrats and to focus the Barr hearings on Mueller.
As far as the Trump-haters are concerned, Rosenstein's appointment of, and supervisory role for, the Mueller witch hunt is the most important thing the Department of Justice does. With his departure now public, expect those hearings to focus on extracting promises from Barr to do nothing to obstruct and everything to support Mueller. They may even demand that Barr recuse himself, as CBS reports:
Barr will likely inherit oversight of the investigation, but that is not a guarantee. His previous criticism of the investigation is expected to be a central theme in his confirmation hearings next week.
My own guess is that Rosenstein knows that Mueller has got nothing but process crimes unrelated to President Trump. He may not want to be in office when the report is finally released. In fact, he may well want to publish his inevitable book before Mueller concludes his investigation. That would be the way to make the most money. I doubt very much that Mueller will wrap up his investigation within a matter of weeks or a few months, giving Rosenstein time to cash in.