February 20, 2019 12:00 PM, EST

Trump to Nominate DOT Official Jeffrey Rosen for Deputy Attorney General Post

Jeffrey RosenJeffrey Rosen will be nominated by President Donald Trump as new deputy attorney general. (Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg News)

President Donald Trump plans to nominate Jeffrey Rosen as the new deputy attorney general, the White House said the night of Feb. 19.

Rosen, now deputy secretary of the U.S. Transportation Department, would replace Rod Rosenstein, who oversaw the investigation led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

Last week, the Senate confirmed William Barr as the new U.S. attorney general. At his confirmation hearing, Barr declined to say whether he would recuse himself from overseeing Mueller in light of his past criticism of a facet of the inquiry.

It was Barr who chose Rosen to be the new deputy attorney general, according to people familiar with the matter, who were granted anonymity to discuss the nomination process.

Rosen, a Harvard Law School graduate, worked at DOT and the Office of Management and Budget under President George W. Bush. He also had a long career at the law firm of Kirkland & Ellis. Barr, who also led the Justice Department under President George H.W. Bush, was of counsel at the firm.

Barr said a statement that Rosen’s “years of outstanding legal and management experience make him an excellent choice to succeed Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who has served the Department of Justice over many years with dedication and distinction.”

Rosenstein appointed Mueller in May 2017 after Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from overseeing the inquiry into Russian interference in the 2016 election and Trump fired FBI Director James Comey. Under Rosenstein, Mueller investigated whether anyone close to Trump conspired with Russians and whether the president sought to obstruct justice.

Rosenstein has come under criticism from Trump and his supporters over the Mueller inquiry. On Monday, Senator Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, said he could subpoena Rosenstein and former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe for a hearing to explore allegations they discussed whether Trump should be removed from office.

McCabe said in an interview on CBS’ “60 Minutes” broadcast Feb. 17 that Rosenstein discussed with him in 2017 whether there were enough members of Trump’s cabinet who would support removing the president for being unfit under the Constitution’s 25th Amendment. Rosenstein has denied that.