Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein had planned to leave the Justice Department sometime in March but will remain at the agency “a little longer,” a senior department official told reporters Tuesday.
Rosenstein, who oversaw the special counsel’s Russia probe, was expected to step down following the confirmation of William Barr as attorney general. In a speech March 7, Rosenstein said it was likely to be one of his last appearances in his government role.
It is unclear what the delay means for the Russia probe, which is being led by former FBI Director Robert Mueller. Mueller is widely believed to be close to the end of the investigation, which began May 17, 2017. Several of Mueller’s top prosecutors have returned back to their day jobs at the Justice Department, including two within the past week. (RELATED: Rod Rosenstein Has A Timeline For Leaving The Trump Administration)
The Justice Department did not comment on the reason for Rosenstein’s delayed departure, according to NBC News.
The news is likely to renew calls from Republican lawmakers who have sought public testimony from Rosenstein over his alleged offer to wear a wire during meetings with President Donald Trump. Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe said Rosenstein raised the controversial idea during meetings in May 2017, following the firing of James Comey as FBI director and before Mueller’s appointment.
McCabe has also claimed Rosenstein brought up the idea of using the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office. Rosenstein has claimed he was joking and gave no serious thought to removing Trump from office or spying on him.
Trump has accused Rosenstein and McCabe of waging a “coup attempt” against him.
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