Rosenstein expected to depart DOJ in coming 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.

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.(MORE: Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein once suggested recording Trump, removing him via 25th Amendment: Sources)Upon the termination of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, speculation mounted that Rosenstein would depart shortly thereafter, yet he's remained in his post as Matt Whitaker has served as acting Attorney General since late November.

Rosenstein oversaw special counsel Robert Mueller's probe for more than a year, after Sessions had recused from the matter over his role in Trump's presidential campaign.

Like other senior leaders within the Justice Department, Rosenstein became a frequent target of Trump's on Twitter, with the president recently re-posting an image of Rosenstein and others behind bars.(MORE: Trump: No intent to fire Rod Rosenstein; says they have a 'good relationship')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.

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.


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