Published: Thu, January 10, 2019
Global | By Craig Ferguson

Attorney general nominee says he won't fire special counsel: Graham

Attorney general nominee says he won't fire special counsel: Graham

ABC News, citing multiple sources familiar with Rosenstein's plans, reported that he meant to leave in the coming weeks as Barr transitioned into the job.

He also wanted to help ensure Barr, if confirmed by the Senate, had a smooth transition, ABC said, citing sources.

The deputy attorney general has been managing special counsel Robert Mueller's Russian Federation investigation and has signaled to other officials that he would leave when he was satisfied that Mueller's investigation was either complete or close enough to completion that it was protected.

In September, Rosenstein went to the White House expecting to be fired after news reports surfaced that he had discussed secretly recording Trump and invoking a constitutional amendment to remove Trump as unfit for office.

Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.), who had backed legislation to protect the Mueller probe, said Rosenstein's presence at DOJ "has been reassuring to many of us who are concerned about the independence of the special counsel's investigation".

ABC News reported there was no indication Rosenstein was being forced to step down. Rosenstein has managed the investigation since it began in May 2017.

Graham, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, spoke after meeting with Barr, who was making the rounds with senators ahead of his confirmation hearing scheduled for next week.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is reportedly set to depart from the White House in coming weeks, according to multiple reports. The Mueller investigation into alleged Russian interference in the November 2016 election has been going on for nearly two years.

In that memo, he criticized Mueller's Russian Federation probe - writing that his investigation into possible obstruction of justice related to Trump's firing of FBI Director James Comey was 'fatally misconceived'.

Graham also told reporters that Barr said he wants the report Mueller is expected to produce to be "transparent".

Rosenstein became a frequent target of Trump's ire on Twitter - with the president recently re-posting an image of him and other officials behind bars.

Barr has criticized the Mueller investigation in the past, including an unsolicited memo he sent the Justice Department a year ago critiquing Mueller's investigation into whether the president had sought to obstruct justice by firing Comey.

Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) said Rosenstein's planned departure is going to "really raise the stakes" of Barr's confirmation hearing next week, while Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Wednesday that he believes Trump should withdraw Barr's nomination.

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