Rod Rosenstein to step down once attorney general is confirmed

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Rosenstein has told President Donald Trump that he will leave the Justice Department after the expected confirmation of William Barr as attorney general.

In September the New York Times reported, citing anonymous sources, that Mr Rosenstein had discussed recruiting cabinet members to invoke the 25th amendment of the USA constitution, which provides for the removal of a president if he is deemed unfit for office.

Rosenstein will ensure a smooth transition to Barr, and there is no suggestion that he is being forced out by the president, ABC said.

Senate hearings for Mr Barr's confirmation are scheduled to begin on 15 January.

"Barr must commit to supporting special counsel Mueller's investigation and allowing him to follow the facts", said Sen.

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.

Rosenstein and his chief deputy have continued to maintain day-to-day oversight over the probe, a senior Justice Department official told reporters last month.

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The revelation, which was also confirmed by CNN, comes after weeks of speculation over whether the deputy attorney general would resign from his role within the Justice Department after the termination of former Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Rosenstein is a key figure in the investigation into possible collusion and conspiracy between Russian Federation intelligence officials and the Trump campaign led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

Meanwhile, Rosenstein has sparred with Republicans in Congress, especially former House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif, over "slow walking" its response to document requests.

Trump nominated Rosenstein to the post in 2017.

If confirmed, Barr would be in charge of Mueller, unless he too recused himself.

If Barr's chances for confirmation appear strong, Democrats nonetheless are expected to question him sharply about the skepticism he has voiced about the Russian Federation investigation. Let's hope this means Rosenstein believes that Mueller's work is largely done and can no longer be derailed.

He has accused the investigation of being led by "Democrat loyalists". After an embattled turn in that role, Sessions stepped down at the end of past year and was replaced temporarily by Matthew Whitaker as Acting Attorney General.

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