Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, submitted his resignation on Monday to President Trump, ending his turbulent two-year run as the Justice Department’s second in command.
Although he periodically found himself the subject of Trump’s ire on Twitter, Rosenstein left on friendly terms with both Attorney General William Barr and apparently the president himself.
Barr said in a statement that Rosenstein served the Justice Department “with dedication and distinction.”
“His devotion to the Department and its professionals is unparalleled,” the statement read. “Over the course of his distinguished government career, he has navigated many challenging situations with strength, grace, and good humor.”
In his resignation letter, obtained by the Wall Street Journal, Rosenstein wrote: “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, because ‘a nation exists to serve its citizens.'”
Read Rod’s complete resignation letter. ???????? pic.twitter.com/4RZCBCUQ1S
— Sadie Gurman (@sgurman) April 29, 2019
Some members of “the Resistance” on Twitter were disturbed by Rosenstein’s positive comments toward President Trump and saw it as a sign that Rosenstein had been corrupted by the Orange menace.
He seems to be a walking set of Russian nesting dolls. Sad.
— Dawn Westlake (@dawn_westlake) April 29, 2019
Glad he found this painful,diastrous, tragedy of an administration funny. Laughing at the mess and treasonous cover up is beyond the pale.
— CAM ????????❤️???????????????????? ????Read. Think. Learn. (@camcath) April 30, 2019
In his letter, Rosenstein, 54, also spoke fondly of his time in the DOJ, saying, “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 had initially intended to leave his position in mid March but decided to stay on until the Mueller probe was completed, apparently at Barr’s request.
Rosenstein’s tenure as the deputy AG was marked by a contentious relationship Trump supporters in and out of government.
He started off on the wrong foot when he appointed the special counsel after Trump fired former FBI Director James Comey. After spending two years and $25 million in taxpayer dollars on an investigation that divided the nation and upended dozens of lives, the special counsel found no evidence of collusion and did not reach a conclusion on obstruction of justice.
In may of 2018, conservative members of congress complained that Rod Rosenstein had threatened then-House Intelligence Committee Chairman Nunes and other Republican House members that he was going to subpoena their texts and messages because he was tired of dealing with the Intel Committee.
After House conservatives threatened to impeach him over document requests, last Spring, Rosenstein fought back. “the Department of Justice is not going to be extorted,” he said.
Republicans also blasted Rosenstein for not appointing a second special counsel to investigate the Obama administration’s surveillance abuse (aka “SpyGate).
In the fall of 2018, when reports surfaced in the NYTs that Rosenstein had floated the idea of wearing a wire to secretly record his conversations with President Trump in the days after the president fired FBI Director James Comey, the Deputy AG called the allegation “inaccurate and factually incorrect.”
“I will not further comment on a story based on anonymous sources who are obviously biased against the Department and are advancing their own personal agenda,” Rosenstein said. “But let me be clear about this: based on my personal dealings with the president, there is no basis to invoke the 25th Amendment.”
In February, Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe insisted that Rosenstein was “absolutely serious” about wearing the wire and further claimed that Rosenstein discussed with Justice Department officials a plan to recruit members of President Trump’s Cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove the president from office.
The Justice Department firmly denied McCabe’s stunning claims, saying Rosenstein did not believe there were any grounds to remove Trump from office via the 25th Amendment.
Speaking at an event in New York City last Thursday evening, Rosenstein opened up about the special counsel’s Russia investigation, and threw shade on critics, politicians, the media, and members of the Obama administration, including James Comey.
“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.”
He also said that there were “some critical decisions” about the investigation that had been made before he got there. “The previous administration,” he added, “chose not to publicize the full story about Russian computer hackers and social media trolls, and how they relate to a broader strategy to undermine America.”
Rosenstein added that “the FBI disclosed classified evidence about the investigation to ranking legislators and their staffs, lawmakers and their staffers,” and then “someone selectively leaked details to the news media.”
Rosenstein also defended his boss, Attorney General William Barr in a rare interview with the WSJ, last Thursday: “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.
(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)