Rod Rosenstein, man who appointed Robert Mueller, 'plans to leave' Justice Department

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is expected to leave his position soon after William Barr is confirmed as attorney general.

Sources told ABC that Rosenstein had wanted to remain with the DOJ until Barr's Senate confirmation to ensure a smooth transition within the department.

Democrats have been critical of Barr's nomination because of his skepticism about special counsel Robert Mueller's probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

Spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders says Rosenstein had always planned to stay around two years.

The newspaper also reported that he suggested secretly recording Mr Trump to expose White House turmoil and dysfunction.

Graham also said that Barr explained to him that he wrote his memo criticizing the Mueller investigation because he was concerned about the precedent of obstruction of justice as well as the firing of political appointees.

Incoming Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham said Wednesday the committee plans to probe allegations of government surveillance abuse amid ongoing concerns over Federal Bureau of Investigation and Justice Department efforts to surveil Trump campaign advisers during the 2016 race.

Graham listed a number of questions that he had put to Barr: 'I asked Mr. Barr directly, 'Do you think Mr. Mueller is on a witch hunt?' He said no. Barr and Mueller worked together when Barr was Bush's attorney general between 1991 and 1993 and Mueller oversaw the department's criminal division.

Barr's Senate confirmation hearing begins January 15, which means a confirmation vote at the earliest would occur in mid-February.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is reportedly set to depart from the White House in coming weeks, according to multiple reports.

"My guess is that he is making room for the new attorney general to build a team that he wants around him", she added.

Mr Trump has repeatedly railed against the special counsel's probe into claims that Russian Federation sought to influence the election in Mr Trump's favour.

Barr has made critical comments of 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.

It also said that Rosenstein has notified President Donald Trump of his intentions.

Graham said Barr said that if he were attorney general, he would "err on the side of transparency" when he eventually received Mueller's report. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, who said he believes Barr's previous experience 'ought to make his nomination very easy'.

It is unclear how Barr's criticisms will come into play during his Senate confirmation hearing.

  • Rogelio Becker