Rod Rosenstein to step down once attorney general is confirmed

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Deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein plans to step down once William Barr has been confirmed as head of the Department of Justice.

Rosenstein plans to leave at some point after that, though no date has been set and there is no formal plan for the departure, according to the person, who was not authorized to discuss internal conversations publicly and spoke on the condition of anonymity.

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.

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If confirmed, Barr, who was U.S. Attorney General under the late President George H.W. Bush from 1991 to 1993, would oversee the investigation led by U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller, a fellow Republican chosen by Rosenstein.

Then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions, an early Trump supporter during the presidential campaign, had recused himself. 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.

Rosenstein has been frequently criticized by Trump, who calls the Russian Federation investigation a "witch hunt" and denies any collusion with Moscow. "My guess is that he is making room for the new attorney general to build a team that he wants around him", Sanders said.

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U.S. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein speaks as FBI Director Christopher Wray listens during a news conference to announce a China related national security law enforcement action December 20, 2018 at the Justice Department in Washington, D.C. Rosenstein is reportedly expected to depart from the White House in coming weeks.

Sanders said there's no willingness by the White House to force out Rosenstein, who she said has "a great deal of respect" for Barr, adding that they have a "great relationship".

ABC News was the first to report on Rosenstein's departure.

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