Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein submitted his resignation to President Donald Trump on Monday after months of speculation that he was planning to leave the Justice Department.
His resignation will become effective on May 11, according to a copy of the resignation letter that was reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.
“I am grateful to you 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,” Rosenstein wrote to Trump.
He also spoke positively of his time in the DOJ, stating, “We enforce the law without fear or favor because credible evidence is not partisan, and truth is not determined by opinion polls. We ignore fleeting distractions and focus our attention on the things that matter, because a republic that endures is not governed by the news cycle.”
Rosenstein was initially reported to be leaving the DOJ in mid-March after the confirmation of Bill Barr as the new attorney general, but apparently decided to stay on a bit longer for the rollout of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on his investigation into alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. (RELATED: Rod Rosenstein Staying At Justice Department A ‘Little Longer’)
Rosenstein’s nearly two-year run at the DOJ was not without controversy.
In February, reports surfaced that Rosenstein floated the idea of wearing a wire to secretly record his conversations with President Trump. Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe claimed Rosenstein was “absolutely serious” about the prospect of surveilling the president, but the DOJ said McCabe’s statements were “inaccurate and factually incorrect.”
Rosenstein was also responsible for the appointment of the special counsel after Trump fired former FBI Director James Comey. The special counsel’s investigation took approximately two years and cost $25 million in taxpayer funds but did not find evidence of collusion and did not reach a conclusion on obstruction of justice.
In a speech last Thursday, Rosenstein defended his handling of the Mueller report and implicated the Obama administration for not doing more to stop Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. He also took shots at Comey, stating, “the FBI director [Comey] announced at a congressional hearing that there was a counterintelligence investigation that might result in criminal charges. Then the former FBI director alleged that the president pressured him to close the investigation, and the president denied that the conversation occurred.”
Before submitting his resignation, Rosenstein also defended his boss, Attorney General Barr.
“He’s being as forthcoming as he can, and so this notion that he’s trying to mislead people, I think is just completely bizarre,” Rosenstein said Thursday in a rare interview with the WSJ.