Rosenstein expected to leave Justice in weeks

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein

Evan Vucci Associated Press/2018 Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein

Deputy US Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who appointed Special Counsel Robert Mueller and remains his most visible Justice Department protector, is expected to leave his position soon after William Barr is confirmed as attorney general, an individual familiar with the plans said on Wednesday.

His departure is planned to come around the time William Barr, Trump's pick for attorney general, would take office after a Senate confirmation.

If confirmed, Barr would then oversee the special counsel's Russian Federation investigation.

Speculation about his departure mounted after Sessions was sacked in November and Matt Whitaker began serving as acting attorney general.

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

Barr's confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee is set to begin January 15, and The Washington Post reported that Rosenstein does not have a definitive timeline for departure.

According to Fox News and ABC News, Mr Rosenstein had long planned to leave after two years as deputy attorney general. "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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Barr's nomination is likely to meet heavy scrutiny in light of the ongoing investigation, particularly from Democrats, following reports he had written a memo in June questioning the probe.

Barr would take over control of the investigation, assuming the same final say over major investigative steps that acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker has had since former Attorney General Jeff Sessions was ousted in November.

ABC News also reported that there is no indication that Trump is attempting to force out Rosenstein, despite their rocky past. However, Rosenstein has continued to be the main Justice Department official to interact with Mueller and receive updates on the investigation.

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.

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

Rosenstein wants to ensure a smooth transition for incoming Attorney General nominee Bill Barr and plans to transition out of the job in the coming weeks, the sources said.

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