WASHINGTON—U.S. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who appointed Special Counsel Robert Mueller in May 2017 to investigate alleged and now refuted links between the Russian government and President Donald Trump’s campaign, said on Monday he was resigning from his post.
Rosenstein’s departure, effective May 11, was not a surprise. He had been expected to step down in March. The White House had no immediate comment, but noted that Trump had already nominated Deputy Transportation Secretary Jeffrey Rosen to replace him.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein hands in his resignation before his replacement, Jeff Rosen, has been confirmed.
— Holly Kellum (@HollyGailK) April 29, 2019
Rosenstein ended up staying on the job longer to help Attorney General William Barr manage the public release of Mueller’s findings from the 22-month investigation, which was completed on March 22.
In a letter to Trump, Rosenstein wrote that he helped staff the department with officials “devoted to the values that make America great” and adding that “we always put America first.”
Mueller’s investigation did not establish evidence that Trump’s campaign illegally conspired with Moscow.
“We enforce the law without fear or favor because credible evidence is not partisan,” Rosenstein wrote in his resignation letter.
Rosenstein, a Republican, was often criticized by Trump and his allies for appointing Mueller.
Last autumn, questions swirled about whether Trump might fire him, after the New York Times reported that Rosenstein had suggested in 2017 secretly recording Trump with a wire and recruiting Cabinet members to remove the president from office under the U.S. Constitution’s 25th Amendment.
Rosenstein has said the story was “inaccurate.” Despite stoking Trump’s ire, he remained on the job.
In a speech last week, he blasted “mercenary critics” and defended how the Mueller investigation was handled.
“If lawyers cannot prove our case in court, then what we believe is irrelevant,” he said.
By Sarah N. Lynch and Andy Sullivan