And… he’s out.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein submitted his resignation on Monday to President Trump, effective May 11.
Rosenstein frequently found himself in the political crosshairs over his role in the special counsel’s Russia probe, and his departure doesn’t come as much of a surprise.
Attorney General William Barr was quick to send out a statement saying Rosenstein served the Justice Department “with dedication and distinction”.
“His devotion to the Department and its professionals is unparalleled,” said Barr in the statement. “Over the course of his distinguished government career, he has navigated many challenging situations with strength, grace, and good humor.”
In his letter of resignation, Roseinstein thanked President Trump “for the opportunity to serve; for the courtesy and humor you often display in our personal conversations; and for the goals you set in your inaugural address: patriotism, unity, safety, education, and prosperity, because ‘a nation exists to serve its citizens.'”
The 54-year-old previously served as deputy assistant attorney general and U.S. Attorney. Originally he was going to leave his position last month, but decided to stay through the completion of the Mueller probe, which he oversaw.
Reports in February suggested that Barr has picked Jeffrey Rosen to take over for Rosenstein. Rosen currently serves as Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation.
There was only a small group of department officials who reviewed the Mueller document and helped to shape the public release of it. Rosenstein was part of that group.
He and Barr both stepped in after Mueller didn’t reach a conclusion on whether Trump had obstructed the investigation. They determined the evidence wasn’t enough to support such an allegation.
Trump hasn’t been thrilled with Rosenstein and took to attacking him in recent months. This, after FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe described private discussions with him. In those conversations, they talked about secretly recording and potentially ousting the president in the days after he fired FBI Director James Comey.
Trump, for his part, called it a “treasonous” plot against him.
But Rosenstein denied pursuing a recording of the president. He also fought against claims that he brought up the idea of invoking the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office.
That said, Rosenstein was largely spared the type of anger directed by Trump at Sessions. His recusal enraged the president and led to Sessions’ to his forced resignation back in November.
Last year, The New York Times reported Rosenstein allegedly discussed wearing a “wire” to tape Trump. The purpose, according to the report, was to pursue his removal from. It happened in the tumultuous days after Comey was fired as FBI director. In that firing, the president cited a memo penned by Rosenstein, which apparently caught him off guard.
According to Fox News, one of those meetings took place on May 16, 2017 at Justice Department headquarters. Who was in the room? McCabe and former FBI counsel Lisa Page. The next day, Mueller was appointed as special counsel.
Conservative critics of Rosenstein in D.C. used those reports to attack him. North Carolina Rep. Mark Meadows, the chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, was one of them. He called on Rosenstein to appear before Congress to explain the comments.
Meadows, along with another member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, Jim Jordon of Ohio, introduced five articles of impeachment against Rosenstein.
They accused Rosenstein of intentionally withholding documents and information from Congress. The impeachment articles also cited failure to comply with congressional subpoenas and abuse of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).
Not long after, it was all referred to the House Judiciary Committee. That committee still hasn’t voted on it.
Rosenstein previously served as the U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland, and took over the Russia probe after Sessions recused himself. It was Rosenstein who then appointed Mueller to the investigation.